Personalized surgical informed consent with stereoscopic visualization in neurosurgery—real benefit for the patient or unnecessary gimmick?

Personalized surgical informed consent with stereoscopic visualization in neurosurgery—real benefit for the patient or unnecessary gimmick?
Original Article – Neurosurgery general
Nicolas Hertzsprung, Kiril Krantchev, Thomas Picht, Anna L. Roethe, Kerstin Rubarth, Josch Fuellhase, Peter Vajkoczy, Güliz Acker
Acta Neurochirurgica, 28 February 2023
Open Access
Informed consent of the patient prior to surgical procedures is obligatory. A good and informative communication improves patients’ understanding and confidence, thus may strengthen the patient-doctor relationship. The aim of our study was to investigate the usefulness of additional stereoscopic visualization of patient-specific imaging during informed consent conversation.
Patients scheduled for a brain tumor surgery were screened for this study prospectively. The primary exclusion criteria were cognitive or visual impairments. The participants were randomized into two groups. The first group underwent a conventional surgical informed consent performed by a neurosurgeon including a demonstration of the individual MRI on a 2D computer screen. The second group received an additional stereoscopic visualization of the same imaging to explain the pathology more in-depth. The patients were then asked to fill in a questionnaire after each part. This questionnaire was designed to assess the potential information gained from the patients with details on the anatomical location of the tumor as well as the surgical procedure and possible complications. Patients’ subjective impression about the informed consent was assessed using a 5-point Likert scale.
A total of 27 patients were included in this study. After additional stereoscopic visualization, no significant increase in patient understanding was found for either objective criteria or subjective assessment. Participants’ anxiety was not increased by stereoscopic visualization. Overall, patients perceived stereoscopic imaging as helpful from a subjective perspective. Confidence in the department was high in both groups.
Stereoscopic visualization of MRI images within informed consent conversation did not improve the objective understanding of the patients in our series. Although no objective anatomical knowledge gain was noted in this series, patients felt that the addition of stereoscopic visualization improved their overall understanding. It therefore potentially increases patient confidence in treatment decisions.

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