Conversations: Outsourcing 3D printing for complex transplant procedure planning
In this interview with Georgi Makin at 3DMedNet, Consultant Transplant Surgeon, Tim Brown (Belfast City Hospital), explains how he uses Axial3D to produce models for transplant procedure planning, rehearsal and referral.
Dr. Brown will share his experience of using 3D printed anatomical models for transplant procedure planning at his presentation during 3DMedLIVE taking place in London next month.
My name is Tim Brown, I am a Consultant Transplant Surgeon in Belfast City Hospital and I have been using 3D printed models now for the last 2 years to guide my practice in transplantation and complex renal surgery.
What is your background with medical 3D printing?
We were introduced to Axial3D a number of years ago. They made us aware of the technology as before we met Axial3D, we really didn’t use it all. In fact, we had not heard about it before. They showed us what the case possibilities were: when we found a suitable case had come forward, we discussed with Axial3D the best way to image and then create a model in order to help us.
What was it, specifically, that attracted you to the technology?
We all work off 2D imaging at the moment, using CT scanning, X-rays and things like that. When we look at a 2D image, we are, in our heads, not truly reconstructing those in the 3D space. Whenever I look, for example, at a donor nephrectomy on a CT scan, I am creating a 3D image in my own head as to what I think I am going to see whenever I get into the patient.
To use an analogy, if you imagine you and I read the same James Bond book, I have a picture of what James Bond looks like in my head. When I give you the book to read you then develop a picture in your head of what James Bond looks like. We have digested the same information but most likely have very different appearances in our heads of what the actual image of James Bond is. To me, 3D imaging standardizes the approach in interpreting the patient’s anatomical detail and takes away unnecessary variability from one surgeon’s anatomical interpretation from another.
What surgical challenges does 3D printing help you to overcome?
Surgical challenges can be hugely influenced by pre-operative planning. Whenever we have complex tumors within organs or blood vessels, 3D printing gives us a very nice way of actually looking at the anatomy in-hand and potentially guiding where we are going to make incisions, what we are going to do, how do we get ourselves out of trouble if it arises.
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