Virtual reality surgical planning for endoscopic endonasal approaches to the craniovertebral junction

Andrey Filimonov, Joshua Zeiger, David Goldrich, Roshan Nayak, Satish Govindaraj, Joshua Bederson, Raj Shrivastava, Alfred Marc Calo Iloreta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: To demonstrate the utility of virtual reality (VR) for preoperative surgical planning of endoscopic endonasal craniovertebral junction (CVJ) surgery. Materials and methods: Five patients who had undergone endoscopic endonasal surgery of the craniovertebral junction with preoperative virtual reality surgical planning were identified and described. Results: The anterior approach to the CVJ has been traditionally accomplished transorally. However, recently the transnasal endoscopic approach to this location has been described. Multiple anatomical studies have been conducted using the nasopalatine, nasoaxial, and rhinopalatine lines (NPL, NAxL, RPL) in an attempt to preoperatively delineate the inferior limits of endoscopic dissection. The use of advanced surgical simulation using immersive virtual reality is an innovative approach for analyzing CVJ anatomy and developing a surgical plan. VR simulation through the use of interactive and highly accurate patient specific models allows for the creation of three-dimensional (3D) digital reconstructions via the fusion of CT and MRI studies. Incorporation of simulation technology has been shown to increase surgeon proficiency while simultaneously decreasing complication rates. The described case series demonstrates the novel utility of VR planning for designing the endoscopic surgical approach to the CVJ. Conclusions: VR technology allows for the creation of anatomically accurate 3D models that can be used for preoperative planning of endoscopic endonasal surgery. Such models help in the development of safe surgical plans by predicting inferior and lateral planes of dissection and assisting in the identification of critical structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103219
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Craniovertebral junction
  • Endonasal
  • Odontoid
  • Skull base
  • Surgical planning
  • Transnasal
  • VR
  • Virtual reality


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