Currently, physicians are unable to provide proper expectation management and shared decision-making in facial reconstructive surgery, since no tool is available for offering personalized ‘lifelike’ visualizations of the expected end result. Extended Reality (XR), as an umbrella for technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, creates ‘lifelike’ visual experiences. Within this project, together with SyncVR and MedicalVR, an innovative prototype will be developed that may greatly improve preoperative experiences in facial reconstruction patients.
The face plays a key role in the first way of interacting and permanent changes to the face can have a major impact on quality of life. Skin cancer is the most common malignancy and predominantly affects the face. In facial reconstructions, proper expectation management and shared decision-making are essential. The way patients experience these aspects greatly affects postoperative patient satisfaction with their facial appearance.
A 3D immersive XR environment will be developed to experience and embody the anticipated result of a facial reconstruction. The proposed prototype will be based on insight in patient experiences and unmet needs combined with personalized visualizations based on artificial intelligence. After development of the prototype, evaluation studies in a relevant testing environment will be performed. In view of the high impact of facial reconstructions, our proposed prototype will fill a clinical need for a tool to optimize preoperative patient experiences.
Improved preoperative patient experiences are expected to result in better outcomes in terms of patient satisfaction with their facial appearance, psychosocial well-being and quality of life. In the future this tool could be used to optimize preoperative experiences during consultations for other surgeries, in which postoperative satisfaction with facial appearance or body image is important to patients for their quality of life.