Elastic Mitral Valve Silicone Replica Made from 3D-Printable Molds Offer Advanced Surgical Training
Reconstructive mitral valve surgeries are demanding cardiac surgeries that are conducted in the mid-age of a surgical career at the earliest. Receiving years of training in patients is required to gain the experiences and skills necessary for surgical success. On top of that, the number of such surgeries is limited per hospital, therefore other means of training should be offered to facilitate a steep learning curve. Within the scope of this work, we equipped an existing physical simulator with patient-specific flexible replica of the mitral valve. We developed software to automatically produce a 3D-printable casting mold for silicone material, as this mimics properties of the valve tissue in terms of stitching and cutting. We show the feasibility of the approach and the usefulness of these models is evaluated by an experienced cardiac surgeon, successfully conducting reconstructive surgery on pathological silicone valves.
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