Improving informed consent discussions between a surgeon, his paediatric patient and her family with 3D modeling
Surgery can be daunting for even the toughest of us, but surgery in the paediatric setting brings an entirely unique level of stress for children and their parents. During the process, a child relies on their parents for support and guidance, meanwhile the parent has to make some of the toughest decisions impacting their child’s life. The surgeon plays a critical role in all of this, delivering information in an empathetic and considerate manner, helping patients and parents to understand the diagnosis and agree on the best intervention to improve the child’s life.
In this case, the surgeon treating a 13 year old girl suffering from congenital scoliosis was finding it difficult not only to accurately diagnose the pathology using 2D imaging techniques, but this in turn made it incredibly difficult to clearly share his findings with the young girl’s family.
To remove any ambiguity, the surgeon requested a 3D model of the patient’s lumbar spine and pelvis from Axial3D to aid diagnosis and improve the patient and her family’s understanding of the problem by giving the surgeon a much more precise, informed view.
While initially the case had been very difficult to diagnose, having access to the patient-specific 3D model provided a fundamentally new perspective for the surgeon and redefined how the abnormalities within the spine were shown. Not only was this critical for the surgeon in planning the best surgical procedure for the child, the 3D model was invaluable in educating the patient and her family on the complex pathology - ultimately reducing their anxiety and getting their buy-in to proceed with the planned approach.