Case Studies
How 3D Printing Enabled A Life-Saving Surgery On High Spinal Tumors
Case Studies Dec 01,2021 3516

Pre-operative planning is crucial to delivering successful surgery, thereby delivering optimum patient outcomes. The arrival of 3D printed anatomical models has revolutionized how surgeons obtain the critical insights that are needed before performing complex surgical procedures, leading to better outcomes for patients. Recently, with the help of SoonSer 3D printing, a tumor was successful removed from a patient. 

The neurosurgery teams of Shaoxing People’s Hospital successfully completed a highly difficult minimally invasive surgery for high spinal tumors with the multi-mode 3D printing. The patient’s tumor was in the right spinal canal which is at the level of the first to the second vertebra, combined with imaging information, local high cervical spinal cord compression  information can be seen, moreover, the tumor was close to the vertebral artery and important peripheral nerves and vessels, making it very difficult to remove.

Description of illness

The high cervical pulp involved by the patient’s tumor is the vital center regulating human respiration and heartbeat, the vertebral artery is an important blood vessel supplying the human cerebellum and brainstem, which has very high requirements on the accuracy of the surgeon’s operation. A slight carelessness will cause massive bleeding and endangered life. The most critical problem is that 2-d imaging cannot accurately tell the distribution of nerve and blood vessels around the tumor. In order to completely remove the tumor and protect the cervical spinal cord and the surrounding nerves vascularis, the doctor will use a big enough surgical incisions to grind vertebra to expose the tumor. Excessive grinding of the vertebra will definitely seriously affect its stability. As we all know, cervical vertebra leads the most mobile in human body. Once too much grinding of vertebra leads to poor postoperative stability, the neck movement will be bound to be greatly affected, thus the risk of surgery is obvious.

  MRI images of Patient

Preoperative simulation

After receiving this patient, the neurosurgery team in Shaoxing People’s Hospital immediately discusses his situation. The team proposed that 3D printing of the focus and surrounding tissue models in advance could provide great guidance for surgery so as to know about the anatomical relationship between the focus and surrounding tissue structure in detail and make detailed planning and guidance before operation. Subsequently, Director Yuan Zigang from the neurosurgery team urgently contacted SoonSer 3D. Encouragingly, not only can SoonSer 3D printer implement 3D printing of human tissues, but also can further implement multi-mode fusion technology jointly with its partnership to transform patient’s tumor image information from 2d image to 3d model, and carry out multi-mode fusion of various data.

    3D View of Tumour with Artery, Vein and Bone Position

         Tumour Model

Intraoperative treatment

The location and relation of cervical nerve, blood vessel and tumor were clearly and truly restored through 3D printing in vitro, which provides a basis for the formulation of surgical plan and make patients and their families more confident in the surgical plan. In order to ensure the safety of the patient’s operation, Yu Xuebin, director of the neurosurgery department, organized a team to conduct 3D printing model training and maximize the accuracy of the operation and minimize the risk of the patient’s operation.

 The tumor was removed on the day of surgery. With the assistance of preoperative simulation, doctors accurately grasped the position relation among the tumor and the surrounding vertebral arteries, veins and cervical vertebrae, effectively controlled intra-operative bleeding, minimized the degree of vertebral wear, and completely didn’t affect the normal movement of the patient’s neck after surgery. Due to the minimal interference to the surrounding normal tissues, the operation time was greatly shortened and the surgical risk of patients was significantly reduced.

 “We appreciated the models from SoonSer 3D, which allowed us to have a more vivid understanding before surgery rather than just a 2d imagination. The simulation training before the operation made me more confident about the operation and the success. The clinical application of 3D printing technology not only guarantees our safety, but also enables patients to gain health with the least cost and the minimum cost of surgical trauma. “This is the best thing we’ve ever seen.” Director Yu said.

 The success of the cervical tumor operation in Shaoxing People’s Hospital not only witnessed the critical auxiliary role of 3D printing in medical and surgical surgery, which brought good news to the patients, but also provided a broader idea for minimally invasive surgery.