Navigation-Guided Transnasal Endoscopic Delineation of the Posterior Margin for Maxillary Sinus Cancers: A Preclinical Study

Stefano Taboni, Marco Ferrari, Michael J. Daly, Harley H.L. Chan, Donovan Eu, Tommaso Gualtieri, Ashok R. Jethwa, Axel Sahovaler, Andrew Sewell, Wael Hasan, Ilyes Berania, Jimmy Qiu, John de Almeida, Piero Nicolai, Ralph W. Gilbert, Jonathan C. Irish

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2 Scopus citations


Background: The resection of advanced maxillary sinus cancers can be challenging due to the anatomical proximity to surrounding critical anatomical structures. Transnasal endoscopy can effectively aid the delineation of the posterior margin of resection. Implementation with 3D-rendered surgical navigation with virtual endoscopy (3D-SNVE) may represent a step forward. This study aimed to demonstrate and quantify the benefits of this technology. Material and Method: Four maxillary tumor models with critical posterior extension were created in four artificial skulls (Sawbones®). Images were acquired with cone-beam computed tomography and the tumor and carotid were contoured. Eight head and neck surgeons were recruited for the simulations. Surgeons delineated the posterior margin of resection through a transnasal approach and avoided the carotid while establishing an adequate resection margin with respect to tumor extirpation. Three simulations were performed: 1) unguided: based on a pre-simulation study of cross-sectional imaging; 2) tumor-guided: guided by real-time tool tracking with 3D tumor and carotid rendering; 3) carotid-guided: tumor-guided with a 2-mm alert cloud surrounding the carotid. Distances of the planes from the carotid and tumor were classified as follows and the points of the plane were classified accordingly: “red”: through the carotid artery; “orange”: <2 mm from the carotid; “yellow”: >2 mm from the carotid and within the tumor or <5 mm from the tumor; “green”: >2 mm from the carotid and 5–10 mm from the tumor; and “blue”: >2 mm from the carotid and >10 mm from the tumor. The three techniques (unguided, tumor-guided, and carotid-guided) were compared. Results: 3D-SNVE for the transnasal delineation of the posterior margin in maxillary tumor models significantly improved the rate of margin-negative clearance around the tumor and reduced damage to the carotid artery. “Green” cuts occurred in 52.4% in the unguided setting versus 62.1% and 64.9% in the tumor- and carotid-guided settings, respectively (p < 0.0001). “Red” cuts occurred 6.7% of the time in the unguided setting versus 0.9% and 1.0% in the tumor- and carotid-guided settings, respectively (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: This preclinical study has demonstrated that 3D-SNVE provides a substantial improvement of the posterior margin delineation in terms of safety and oncological adequacy. Translation into the clinical setting, with a meticulous assessment of the oncological outcomes, will be the proposed next step.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number747227
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - Nov 11 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (Toronto, Canada), including the Kevin and Sandra Sullivan Chair in Surgical Oncology, the Myron and Berna Garron Fund, the Strobele Family Fund, and the RACH Funds.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Taboni, Ferrari, Daly, Chan, Eu, Gualtieri, Jethwa, Sahovaler, Sewell, Hasan, Berania, Qiu, de Almeida, Nicolai, Gilbert and Irish.


  • 3D-virtual endoscopy
  • intraoperative navigation (NIV)
  • maxillary sinus cancers
  • surgical margins
  • transnasal endoscopic surgery

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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