Low-Cost Stereoscopic Recordings of Neurological Surgery Operative Microscopy for Anatomical Laboratory Training

Objective

Stereoscopic video recordings of operative microscopy during neuroanatomic dissections are an important component of surgical training and research in well-financed medical schools and teaching hospitals. However, the high cost of the latest operative microscopes with integrated video recording equipment can be a limiting factor in their worldwide use. The aim of the present work is to provide a simple low-cost 3-dimensional (3D) stereoscopic operative microscope recording system that can be used even in economically and resource-limited locations. This is achieved by using readily available smartphones, smartphone accessories, and computer software.

Methods

Stereoscopic recording is accomplished by attaching and aligning matched or similar smartphones to the eyepieces of an operative microscope using readily available smartphone mounting connectors. Video recordings from the smartphones are then transferred to a personal computer and processed with a video-editing software to generate stereoscopic movies that are viewed on a smartphone using virtual-reality glasses.

Results

The setup time to mount and align the smartphone cameras typically requires 15–30 minutes. Video image quality and 3D depth presentation is more than sufficient for surgical training and research purposes. The implementation cost ranges from $1,315–$7,066, or much less if smartphones and a computer are already available.

Conclusions

The 3D video system demonstrated herein can be implemented on any type of operative microscope, including older units for which commercial stereo recording systems are not available. The system and method presented herein can be readily and affordably implemented in low-budget environments for clinical training and research.