Case Studies 3D grey heart open

Improving pre-operative communication for surgeons with 3D printing

Case Study
  • Cardiology

Axial3D’s precision 3D medical modeling offers surgeons unprecedented insights beyond conventional 2D patient scan data. These insights can add a completely different perspective to the pathology, offer information that just isn’t always available from a 2D image, and in many cases even change the plan for a surgical procedure. In addition, these insights are also incredibly helpful in making the conversations between clinical teams and their patients more informed.

The Case

In this case, a 5-month-old patient was on a surgical waiting list for an Arterial switch, VSD closure and Pulmonary artery (PA) debanding. He was also born with coarctation of the aorta, which was repaired at the time of the PA banding.


Ahead of the procedure, the surgeon requested a 3D model of the newborn patient’s heart from Axial3D. 160 CT images were used to produce a split heart model, with a clear window requested by the surgeon to help obtain a better view of the pathology.

“It is the best resemblance of the heart, which can sometimes change in appearance from looking at a CT to looking at the real life heart in theater. Having the 3D model to plan in advance allows all members of the team to have the one view of the patient's heart.”

- Feedback from the surgeon when discussing how the model helped in planning.

Benefits using the 3D Model

The 3D model gave the clinicians additional information that could not be gleaned from CT images alone, well in advance of the procedure. This additional information provided by the 3D model was a key driver in helping the team to understand and ultimately change the original diagnosis, build an improved procedure plan, and was also useful in determining the choice of equipment ahead of the procedure.

Not only did the model transform the pre-operative planning process for the clinicians in this case, but it also created a better understanding of the procedure for the patient’s parents. The surgeon told Axial3D that the model was an excellent tool for giving the patient’s parents a better understanding of the pathology and surgical plan, and was incredibly useful in gaining consent from his parents, who were even able to hold the exact model of their son’s heart in their hands during these difficult discussions.

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