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Transforming parental education in pediatric surgery with 3D modeling

  • Neurosurgery
  • Innovation

Even as a surgeon, 2D medical scans of a patient’s anatomy can be difficult to understand and interpret when forming a diagnosis or devising a pre-operative plan.

Every physician is familiar with the scenario. The surgery has been mapped out, you’re confident in your approach but the parents are unsure whether to consent because the case is complex and the procedure is hard for them to understand. They are desperate not to make the wrong decision. The delay is frustrating for the physician, stressful for the parents and, most distressingly, it leaves a child in pain.

In educating a patient about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of a surgical plan, these scans are the only patient-specific tools available, making the process of gaining informed consent in pediatric spine surgery extremely challenging.

Even more difficult is patient education in very complex and high risk cases, for example, surgery on spinal deformities, such as scoliosis, kyphosis, and spondylolysis, in young children. To add fuel to the fire, it is the parents of the child and not the patient that must permit the surgery. These parents are already consumed with the stress and anxiety of looking after a young child who is unwell, and the health and safety of their child is of paramount importance to them. Therefore, it is crucial for them to be provided with information in an easily digestible manner to fully understand the proposed surgery plan for their child.

A comparison of 2D medical images VS a 3D model of the spine of a 14-year-old boy who has suffered from scoliosis all of his life.

3D models vastly improve understanding

A much more effective tool for describing a surgical plan is a 3D model derived from a CT scan. Using this powerful visualization tool, the physician can take the parents inside the child’s anatomy and clearly explain what the procedure involves. Through holding and physically exploring the model, parents can solidify their understanding and make a fully informed decision about the surgery. Where parents have the responsibility of making life-altering decisions for their vulnerable children, it’s essential that they are given the very best chance of fully understanding the planned surgical procedure.

3D models increase patient conversion

Improving patient conversion rates is a goal for all hospitals, primarily because it leads to better patient outcomes. But it also impacts on the efficiency of the hospital and on its vital revenue streams that enable it to continue to deliver world-class healthcare.

The use of 3D printed models of a patient’s anatomy has been shown to have a positive effect on patient conversion. In one survey, patients in 98% of cases felt that the 3D model greatly improved their understanding of the proposed surgery.

A 3D model from a pediatric pelvis case.

Try it for free

Experience for yourself how 3D modeling can revolutionize parental education. As a valued reader, we’d like to offer you a free 3D anatomical model for one of your upcoming pediatric pelvic surgery cases. You’ll see at first-hand how it supports pre-operative planning and enables a clearer and more easily understood explanation of surgical procedures making gaining consent quicker and less stressful for parents.

You can register here in just a few minutes, and one of our service specialists will reach out in 1–2 working days to assist you in placing your order or click the button below to try a free model!

Have an existing or previous complex case? Request a patient-specific model of your patient's case to dramatically improve care at your facility.

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