The application of VATS (Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery) for a variety of thoracic surgical procedures has increased the technical complexity of these procedures, especially in long-sparing oncological resections. Pre-operative assessment of procedural feasibility is imperative for these new techniques and approaches, making imaging modalities increasingly important for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions of these two-dimensional images can aid in a better visuospatial understanding of thoracic anatomy. Using this method, tumors can be localized precisely with respect to their anatomical borders, possibly leading to an increase in the use of sublobar resections. Furthermore, deviant vascular anatomy can be detected pre-operatively, potentially facilitating the procedures. In order to create a tangible model, rapid prototyping (more commonly known as 3D printing) can facilitate a better understanding of pulmonary vascular anatomy and anatomical relations to the tumor. Additionally, these models can be used to improve patient counseling and result in higher patient knowledge scores. We foresee these techniques to evolve rapidly in the nearby future, with the introduction of whole-slide scanning, 3D scanning and bioprinting. For diagnosis and treatment of thoracic disease, these methods will undoubtedly prove useful for many processes.
Keywords: Computed tomography, Imaging, Lung cancer, Lung surgery, Lobectomy, Preoperative planning, Rapid prototyping, Segmentectomy, Surgical simulation, Three-dimensional printing, Three-dimensional reconstruction.