Augmented reality for base plate component placement in reverse total shoulder arthroplasty: a feasibility study

Background: Accurate glenoid positioning in reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) is important to achieve satisfying functional outcome and prosthesis longevity. Optimal component placement can be challenging, especially in severe glenoid deformities. The use of patient-specific instruments (PSI) and 3D computer-assisted optical tracking navigation (NAV) are already established methods to improve surgical precision. Augmented reality technology (AR) promises similar results at low cost and ease of use. With AR, the planned component placement can be superimposed to the surgical situs and shown directly in the operating field using a head mounted display. We introduce a new navigation technique using AR via head mounted display for surgical navigation in this feasibility study, aiming to improve and enhance the surgical planning.

Methods: 3D surface models of ten human scapulae were printed from computed tomography (CT) data of cadaver scapulae. Guidewire positioning of the central back of the glenoid baseplate was planned with a dedicated computer software. A hologram of the planned guidewire with dynamic navigation was then projected onto the 3D-created models of the cadaver shoulders. The registration of the plan to the anatomy was realized by digitizing the glenoid surface and the base of the coracoid with optical tracking using a fiducial marker. After navigated placement of the central guidewires, another CT imaging was recorded, and the 3D model was superimposed with the preoperative planning to analyze the deviation from the planned and executed central guides trajectory and entry point.

Results: The mean deviation of the ten placed guidewires from the planned trajectory was 2.7° ± 1.3° (95% CI 1.9°; 3.6°). The mean deviation to the planned entry point of the ten placed guidewires measured 2.3 mm ± 1.1 mm (95% CI 1.5 mm; 3.1 mm).

Conclusion: AR may be a promising new technology for highly precise surgical execution of 3D preoperative planning in RSA.

Keywords: Augmented reality; Experimental; Reverse total shoulder; Shoulder.