A 3D model was reconstructed and printed based on patient-specific magnetic resonance images. The fused deposition of polyactic acid (PLA) filament and selective laser sintering of polyamid were used for 3D printing. Silicone and SEBS materials were employed to mimic soft tissues. A neuronavigation protocol was performed on the 3D-printed models scaled to three different sizes, 100%, 50%, and 25% of the original dimensions. A neurosurgery team (17 individuals) evaluated the phantom realism as “very good” and “perfect” in 49% and 31% of the cases, respectively, and rated phantom utility as “very good” and “perfect” in 61% and 32% of the cases, respectively. Models in original size (100%) and scaled to 50% provided a quantitative and realistic visual analysis of the patient's cortical anatomy without distortion. However, reduction to one quarter of the original size (25%) hindered visualization of surface details and identification of anatomical landmarks.
A patient-specific phantom was developed with anatomically and spatially accurate shapes, that can be used as an alternative for surgical planning. Printed models scaled to sizes that avoided quality loss might save time and reduce medical training costs 1).
Two patients with cranial defects were presented to describe the 3D printing technique for cranial reconstruction. A digital prosthesis model is designed and manufactured with the aid of a 3D computed tomography. Both the data of large sized cranial defects and the prosthesis are transferred to a 3D printer to obtain a physical model in poly-lactic acid which is then used in a laboratory to cast the final customised prosthesis in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
A precise compliance of the prosthesis to the osseous defect was achieved. At the 6 month postoperative follow-up no complications were observed i.e. rejection, toxicity, local or systemic infection, and the aesthetic change was very significant and satisfactory. Customized 3D PMMA prosthesis offers cost advantages, a great aesthetic result, reduced operating time and good biocompatibility 2).