A neurosurgical simulation of skull base tumors using a 3D printed rapid prototyping model containing mesh structures
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Deep regions are not visible in three-dimensional (3D) printed rapid prototyping (RP) models prepared from opaque materials, which is not the case with translucent images. The objectives of this study were to develop an RP model in which a skull base tumor was simulated using mesh, and to investigate its usefulness for surgical simulations by evaluating the visibility of its deep regions.
A 3D printer that employs binder jetting and is mainly used to prepare plaster models was used. RP models containing a solid tumor, no tumor, and a mesh tumor were prepared based on computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and angiographic data for four cases of petroclival tumor. Twelve neurosurgeons graded the three types of RP model into the following four categories: ‘clearly visible,’ ‘visible,’ ‘difficult to see,’ and ‘invisible,’ based on the visibility of the internal carotid artery, basilar artery, and brain stem through a craniotomy performed via the combined transpetrosal approach. In addition, the 3D positional relationships between these structures and the tumor were assessed.
The internal carotid artery, basilar artery, and brain stem and the positional relationships of these structures with the tumor were significantly more visible in the RP models with mesh tumors than in the RP models with solid or no tumors.
The deep regions of PR models containing mesh skull base tumors were easy to visualize. This 3D printing-based method might be applicable to various surgical simulations.
KeywordsThree-dimensional printer Rapid prototyping model Skull base tumor Surgical simulation Mesh structure
We thank Chiaki Nishimura, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Toho University, for helping us with the statistical processing. We also thank Kazuhiro Tachiki, RT, at Toho University Medical Center for molding the RP models in this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.
No funding was received for this research.
Conflict of interest
All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.
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