Background: The aim of this study was to report on the early experiences using a real-time 3-dimensional (3D) virtual reality navigation system with open MRI for breast-conserving surgery. Study Design: We developed a real-time 3D virtual reality navigation system with open MRI, and evaluated the mismatch between the navigation system and real distance using a 3D phantom. Two patients with nonpalpable MRI-detected breast tumors underwent breast-conserving surgery under the guidance of the navigation system. An initial MRI for the breast tumor using skin-affixed markers was performed immediately before excision. A percutaneous intramammary dye marker was applied to delineate an excision line, and the computer software "3D Slicer" generated a real-time 3D virtual reality model of the tumor and the puncture needle in the breast. Excision of the tumor was performed in the usual manner along the excision line indicated with the dye. The resected specimens were carefully examined histopathologically. Results: The mean mismatch between the navigation system and real distance was 2.01 ± 0.32 mm when evaluated with the 3D phantom. Under guidance by the navigation system, a percutaneous intramammary dye marker was applied without any difficulty. Fiducial registration errors were 3.00 mm for patient no. 1, and 4.07 mm for patient no. 2. Histopathological examinations of the resected specimens of the 2 patients showed noninvasive ductal carcinoma in situ. The surgical margins were free of carcinoma cells. Conclusions: Real-time 3D virtual reality navigation system with open MRI is feasible for safe and accurate excision of nonpalpable MRI-detected breast tumors. Long-term outcomes of this technique should be evaluated further.
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