Child's Nervous System

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 1109–1116 | Cite as

A practical 3D printed simulator for endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery to improve basic operational skills

  • Guodao Wen
  • ZiXiang Cong
  • KaiDong Liu
  • Chao Tang
  • Chunyu Zhong
  • Liwen Li
  • XuJie Dai
  • Chiyuan Ma
Original Paper



We aimed to present a practical three-dimensional (3D) printed simulator to comprehensively and effectively accelerate the learning curve of endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (EETS).


The 3D printed simulator consists of three parts: (1) skull frame, (2) the nasal passage and the nasal alar of the face, and (3) a modified sella turcica. We aimed to improve three basic operational skills of surgeons: drilling, curetting, and aspirating. Eighteen neurosurgeons and five post-graduates were recruited and consented for the training.


For trainees, (1) as the training progressed, the scores increased gradually, (2) a significant increase in the average scores was observed in the tenth training compared to the first training, and (3) there is a significant decrease in trainee variability in the shortening of the gap. The 18 neurosurgeons were divided into three groups: experts, assistants, and observers. For all three basic operations, (1) the average score of experts was obviously higher than that of the assistants, observers, and trainees’ tenth training and (2) the average scores of assistants and observers were obviously higher than that of trainees’ first training. A significant high in the average score between the assistants and the observers was seen for aspirating, but not for drilling or curetting. For curetting and aspirating, the tenth training average score of trainees was obviously higher than that of assistants and observers.


This 3D printed simulator allows different endoscopic basic operations to be simulated and improves the EETS techniques of surgeons. We believed it to be a practical, simple, and low-cost simulator.


The 3D printed simulator Endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery Three basic operational skills Drilling Curetting Aspirating 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guodao Wen
    • 1
  • ZiXiang Cong
    • 1
  • KaiDong Liu
    • 1
  • Chao Tang
    • 1
  • Chunyu Zhong
    • 2
  • Liwen Li
    • 1
  • XuJie Dai
    • 3
  • Chiyuan Ma
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Jinling Hospital, School of MedicineNanjing UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of MedicineNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of General Surgery, Jinling Hospital, School of MedicineNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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