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3D printing: a useful tool for safe clinical practice in children with complex vasculature

Abstract

Background 3D printing has been used in different medical contexts, although it is underutilised in paediatrics. We present the first use of 3D printing in the management of three paediatric patients with complex renovascular disease.

Methods Patient-specific 3D models were produced from conventional 2D imaging and manufactured using 3D polyjet printing technology. All three patients had different underlying pathologies, but all underwent multiple endovascular interventions (renal artery balloon angioplasty) prior to 3D printing and subsequent vascular surgery. The models were verified by an expert radiologist and then presented to the multidisciplinary team to aid with surgical planning.

Results Following evaluation of the 3D-printed models, all patients underwent successful uni/bilateral renal auto-transplants and aortic bypass surgery. The 3D models allowed more detailed preoperative discussions and more focused planning of surgical approach, therefore enhancing safer surgical planning. It influenced clinical decision-making and shortened general anaesthetic time. The families and the patients reported that they had a significantly improved understanding of the patient’s condition and had more confidence in understanding proposed surgical intervention, thereby contributing to obtaining good-quality informed consent.

Conclusion 3D printing has a great potential to improve both surgical safety and decision-making as well as patient understanding in the field of paediatrics and may be considered in wider surgical areas.

  • Paediatrics
  • Nephrology
  • Technology

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Anonymised data may be shared on an individual basis if needed. Please contact the corresponding author to arrange this.

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