Creating a Digital Twin of Spinal Surgery: A Proof of Concept


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Surgery digitalization is the process of creating a virtual replica of real-world surgery, also referred to as a surgical digital twin (SDT). It has significant applications in various fields such as education and training, surgical planning, and automation of surgical tasks. Given their detailed representations of surgical procedures, SDTs are an ideal foundation for machine learning methods, enabling automatic generation of training data. In robotic surgery, SDTs can provide realistic virtual environments in which robots may learn through trial and error. In this paper, we present a proof of concept (PoC) for surgery digitalization that is applied to an ex-vivo spinal surgery performed in realistic conditions. The proposed digitalization focuses on the acquisition and modelling of the geometry and appearance of the entire surgical scene. We employ five RGB-D cameras for dynamic 3D reconstruction of the surgeon, a high-end camera for 3D reconstruction of the anatomy, an infrared stereo camera for surgical instrument tracking, and a laser scanner for 3D reconstruction of the operating room and data fusion. We justify the proposed methodology, discuss the challenges faced and further extensions of our prototype. While our PoC partially relies on manual data curation, its high quality and great potential motivate the development of automated methods for the creation of SDTs. The quality of our SDT can be assessed in a rendered video available at .
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