Kitware Receives Funding to Advance Neurosurgery Simulation

February 5, 2014

Kitware announced today $1,932,231 in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop and validate its neurosurgery simulation tool for the treatment of arteriovenour malformations (AVMs). This project is a collaborative effort between Kitware, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Arizona State University (ASU), and Professor Nikos Chrisochoides.

Cerebral AVMs affect millions of people around the world (Hinkman, 2005-2006, p. 36). The surgical resectioning of AVMs is one of the most complex surgeries involving brain vasculature. Due to the risk and complexity of AVM surgery, neurosurgeons need to be highly trained. The use of a realistic and approach-specific simulator will significantly improve the training process by allowing surgeons to have hands-on experiences without jeopardizing the health of patients.

The project’s team has extensive expertise in clinical neurosurgical procedures, computational mechanics, computer graphics, meshing algorithms, human factor studies, and real-time simulation. Dr. Suvranu De from RPI, Dr. Dinesh Manocha from UNC, and Dr. Andinet Enquobahrie from Kitware are co-Principal Investigators for the project.

For the project, the team of collaborators aims to build a clinically-realistic and well-validated neurosurgical simulator that can effectively model vascular structures and non-linear deformations that occur during the surgical treatment of AVMs. The project’s technical development includes anatomical modeling and volumetric meshing of vascular structures. It also involves combining FEM biomechanical modeling with fluid simulation, as well as integrating GPU-based implementations for real-time simulation. In addition, the technical development entails advanced collision detection and response algorithms.

“We believe the proposed neurosurgical simulator will be a powerful teaching tool for training residents and allow them to practice their surgical skills in a risk-free environment before application to patients; this will translate to fewer operating room errors, reduced patient morbidity, and improved patient outcomes,” Dr. Andinet Enquobahrie, the overall contact Principal Investigator, said. “We will work with the Department of Neurosurgery at UNC to validate the effectiveness of the simulator as a training tool.”

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Office Of The Director, National Institutes Of Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44OD018334. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


Hickman, Z. L. (2005-2006). Evaluation of neuropsychometric outcome in patients undergoing excision versus stereotactic radiosurgery for cerebral arteriovenous malformations. Doris Duck Medical Students’ Journal, 5, 36-43. Retrieved from



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