Case Studies Anatomy of a double aortic arch

Patient-specific 3D modeling for improving training and education

Case Study
  • Cardiology

The use of patient-specific 3D modeling in surgical planning and patient education has increased dramatically over the past number of years. Across the globe, hundreds of surgeons are now using Axial3D patient-specific 3D anatomical models every month in their clinical planning. However, we are now seeing a growing interest in the use of anatomically accurate 3D models, created from 2D medical images, for research, training and teaching applications within clinical education settings.


In this case, a surgeon in one of the UK’s largest teaching hospitals requested a 3D model of a 10-year-old boy’s heart to demonstrate the anatomy of a double aortic arch for teaching and educational purposes.

The surgeon has used Axial3D models in the past for planning patient cases and to aid the patient consent process, however, he recently saw a unique opportunity to use 3D models to improve education across multiple teams, helping them to better understand the patient’s pathology and improve collaboration within the different teams, ultimately supporting them to deliver the best standards in patient care.

Benefits of using the 3D Models

In this case, the 3D model was used to educate the Trust’s cardiac and multidisciplinary teams (MDT), including theater staff, and trainee surgeons on the patient’s complex pathology. The lead surgeon believes that the use of 3D printed models has huge potential in the education setting in addition to his use of the models for planning purposes. Furthermore, the use of the 3D models at the Trust has led to higher levels of engagement and has improved intraoperative processes such as instrumentation selection and planning.

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