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News Americas

A realistic 3-D-printed model guided surgeons to the successful treatment of the near-fatal brain aneurysm of patient Teresa Flint. (Photograph: Business Wire)
0 Comments Dec 8, 2015 | News Americas

3-D printing helps resolve nearly fatal brain aneurysm

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MINNEAPOLIS, USA/REHOVOT, Israel: Stratasys, a 3-D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company, recently announced a major advance in surgical preplanning made possible with cutting-edge 3-D-printed anatomical models. Teaming up with Stratasys, the Jacobs Institute in Buffalo in New York has developed a new approach to repairing a complex brain aneurysm. The use of a lifelike 3-D-printed replica significantly reduced risks associated with this intricate surgery and corrected a near-fatal condition.

According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, aneurysms are responsible for nearly 500,000 deaths each year worldwide. About six million people currently have undetected aneurysms, which result from a weakened area within an artery that fills with blood, creating extreme pressure.

Stratasys and the Jacobs Institute worked alongside physicians at Kaleida Health's Gates Vascular Institute and biomedical engineers at the State University of New York at Buffalo in developing their novel approach, which was applied for the first time to the treatment of the complex brain aneurysm of patient Teresa Flint. After experiencing diminished vision and headaches, Flint was referred to the specialists at the institute, where she was diagnosed with a life-threatening aneurysm.

"We took the image of the aneurysm based on her scans to generate an exact replica of the entire brain vessel anatomy. The Stratasys 3D printed model enabled us to devise a much more optimal means to treat her," said Dr. Adnan H. Siddiqui, Chief Medical Officer at the Jacobs Institute.

"Typical treatment options are highly risky, as no two cases are identical and require deep understanding of each patient's unique vascular anatomy. With the aid of Stratasys' PolyJet 3D Printing Solutions, surgeons at some of the world's leading hospitals are now able to quickly pinpoint affected areas on individual patients and practice surgeries on realistic anatomical 3D printed models. This is expected to dramatically minimize risks associated with delays and complications stemming from real-time, in-procedure diagnoses," said Dr. Scott Radar, General Manager of Medical Solutions at Stratasys.

"Our original plan was to treat her aneurysm with a metallic basket—delivered into the area with a tiny tube. After attempting the procedure on the 3D printed replica, we realized it just wasn't going to work," noted Siddiqui. "Based on the Stratasys 3D printed model, our team was able to pre-empt potential complications and devise a much more optimal means of treating Teresa's aneurysm."

To establish a viable surgical solution, the doctors transformed Flint's CT scan into a single material model to manipulate and test. The life-sized replica was 3-D-printed utilizing Stratasys's flexible TangoPlus photopolymer material on the Objet Eden260VS professional 3-D printer, thus fully mimicking the feel of human tissue and its vascular structure. After accurately reproducing the aneurysm's geometry, the doctors conducted a range of new testing and simulations to devise potential treatment options. After exploring several approaches on the model in a surgical environment, the doctors were able to operate successfully on the actual patient’s aneurysm.

"By 3D printing models that mimic vascular feel, we can create an approach I don't think is achievable any other way," concluded Michael Springer, Director of Operations and Entrepreneurship at the Jacobs Institute.

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