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Improving the Accuracy of Maxillary Sinus Balloon Dilation Using Virtual Reality Navigation: A Proof-of-Concept Study.

BACKGROUND: The ability to reliably and accurately cannulate the natural ostium of the maxillary sinus during balloon sinus dilation (BSD) has been criticized. Conventional computed tomography (CT)-guided navigation systems are helpful when dilating other sinuses, but they fail to provide meaningful feedback to guide accurate dilation of the maxillary sinus.

OBJECTIVE: This study explores the potential impact of a new navigation system with virtual reality (VR) functionality on successful BSD of the maxillary sinus.

METHODS: Using the established methodology, a cadaveric evaluation of the accuracy of maxillary BSD with a VR-equipped navigation system and balloon was undertaken. The natural ostium was landmarked on CT images with a beacon, and a VR intrasinus camera view was used to guide balloon dilation by a team of 2 rhinologists. Following the procedure, uncinectomies were performed to directly assess the accuracy of dilation. Standardized video clips with a 30° endoscopic view of the area were reviewed by 3 blinded rhinologists from different institutions who were not part of the procedures. Dilation of the natural ostium was scored as "successful," "unsuccessful," or "unsure."

RESULTS: Sixteen maxillary BSDs were completed in 8 cadavers using VR navigation. The medial wall of the maxillary sinus showing the natural ostium as well as any accessory ostia were readily visualized and labeled with a beacon in all cases using the 3D virtual rendering feature. Dilations were scored using a standardized rubric. Any "unsure" responses from the reviewers were categorized as "unsuccessful" for analysis purposes. The accuracy rate for dilation of the maxillary sinus natural ostium was 77%. Despite the use of cadaveric tissues, a fair interrater agreement (kappa 0.21) was achieved.

CONCLUSION: Using VR navigation appears to improve the accuracy of cannulating the natural ostium during maxillary BSD, which could lead to better outcomes. Further study in live subjects is warranted.

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