Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize 2018

Video: Algorithms for liver surgery – performing operations more safely worldwide

© Photo: Kai Michalak

Winners of the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize 2018:
Dr. Stephan Zidowitz, Fraunhofer MEVIS
Alexander Köhn, Fraunhofer MEVIS
Dr. Andrea Schenk, Fraunhofer MEVIS

Four complex, interwoven vascular systems pass through the liver. Surgically removing tumors is therefore often a great challenge. The Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS has developed algorithms that analyze patients' imaging data and calculate surgical risks. This makes liver cancer surgery safer and easier to plan. Every year, 750,000 people worldwide develop liver cancer, and many more develop liver metastases caused by other cancers. Surgery still offers the best chance of recovery. However, even minor changes in the surgical resection can have a dramatic impact on the surgical outcome: One wrong cut can interfere with the inflow or outflow of blood in the liver and impair organ function. The complex, entangled vascular anatomy is difficult to reconstruct mentally based on CT or MRI images alone.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS in Bremen have developed software that analyzes a patient’s radiological images. It generates a detailed three-dimensional model of the liver and its vascular systems. Supply and drainage areas of the blood vessels are calculated and help determine the risks of possible tumors resection strategies.

Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize

Since 1978, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has awarded prizes every year in recognition of outstanding scientific work by members of its staff that solve application-oriented problems. To date, over 300 researchers have seen their work honored in this way. This year, three of these prizes will be awarded, each worth 50,000 euros.