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Medicine Biotech Build

Hospitals Can 3D Print a Patient's Vasculature For Aneurysm Pre-Op Practice (computerworld.com) 21

Lucas123 writes: University of Buffalo physicians and researchers from two institutes working with 3D printer maker Stratasys have successfully 3D-printed anatomically correct models of patients' vascular systems — from their femoral artery to their brain — in order to test various surgical techniques prior to an actual operation. The new 3D printed models not only precisely replicate blood vessels' geometry, but the texture and tissue tension, allowing surgeons a realistic preoperative experience when using catheterization techniques. The printed models are also being used by physicians in training.
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Hospitals Can 3D Print a Patient's Vasculature For Aneurysm Pre-Op Practice

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  • Is the ability to practice on a particular patient really necessary? It seems like the time it would take to do a dry-run is the time that the surgeon could be performing another surgery. If individual patients' vascular systems so different that they cause problems for surgeons, then sure this development is great. But are they all really so different as to justify an expensive and time-consuming test dry run before each operation?
    • If it prevents further injury, complications during surgery, or loss of life, than I'd say it's worth it.
    • Re:Time constraints (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @08:12PM (#50998385)

      Is the ability to practice on a particular patient really necessary? It seems like the time it would take to do a dry-run is the time that the surgeon could be performing another surgery.

      For lack of a better analogy, imagine if air travel involved teleporting from your living room to an airplane seat, rather than an hour drive/parking to the airport, arriving two hours ahead for security, half an hour to pick up your luggage at the other end, etc...

      The time to perform a dry run is also a lot less than the time associated with the actual surgery. There's no actual patient to deal with. No anaesthesiology. No prep. No worries about sterility. No patient to get complications that might require further intervention. Etc... and the surgeon in this case is already spending a fair bit of quality time with radiographs and/or 3d-rendered models of the aneurysm in question in order to figure out the best way in/out of it. (And to further abuse the travel analogy, the big veins in the legs and the neck are mostly the same, but once you get off the highway after having left the airport, every trip is unique. Cerebral vascular surgery is very much a last-mile problem.)

    • Is the ability to practice on a particular patient really necessary? It seems like the time it would take to do a dry-run is the time that the surgeon could be performing another surgery. If individual patients' vascular systems so different that they cause problems for surgeons, then sure this development is great. But are they all really so different as to justify an expensive and time-consuming test dry run before each operation?

      It probably depends on how good the scans are, and if they're good enough then cases far outside the norm can be practiced on first. Maybe you are operating on someone with a lot of scar tissue from badly done prior operations--that can be hard and it might be better to practice first. Maybe you are operating on someone heavier than anyone you've operated on by a hundred pounds. Maybe you are dealing with something fairly obscure and there are only a dozen cases in the medical literature, so you've never

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      That's the whole problem with aneurysms. What was an simple hot large pipe supplying blood to the brain, had lost strength, started to disintegrate, split apart, and turn into a balloon bubble until it's in a highly unstable state. When it finally blows apart, the patient will either end up paralyzed or dead. There is only one chance to get it right. Some solutions involve trying to block off the end, others involve filling the cavity with some kind of filler than reduces pressure so that it deflates by its

  • This for the first time is a solid application of 3D printing, rather than the over-hyped gimmicks of the 3D printing enthusiasts, we are getting something that directly saves lives. Awesome!

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