Can patient-specific, three-dimensionally printed models help neurosurgeons communicate better with their patients?
EANS Academy. Alamri B. 09/27/19; 275975; EP12056
Mr. Bagher Alamri
Mr. Bagher Alamri

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Background: Innovative technologies such as three-dimensional (3D) printing may play a role in patient education, particularly in the field of neurosurgery where pathologies are complex and variable. Fully explaining a patient´s pathology in an outpatient setting or when consenting can be difficult and time consuming, especially when utilising complex two-dimensional images such as computed tomography or magentic resonance imaging.
Methods: A prospective pilot study was conducted and fourteen patients with neurosurgical pathologies inlcuding arterovenous malformation (AVM), intracranial aneurysms, primary cerebral tumours and one spinal fracture were identified. Informed consent was obtained. Patient imaging was delivered to an external company (axial3D) who created multi-material, life-size, patient-specific 3D printed models using surgeon feedback. All patients attended a consultation and answered a 10-question Likert scale questionnaire with open-ended feedback assessing patients' satisfaction with their model.
Results: All participants found the models useful and all participants decided to keep their model after the consultation. 96% felt that the models improved their understanding of their clinical situation and that models were more helpful than looking at a scan. 98% found that the models would improve communication between themselves and their surgeon during outpatient clinic or during the consenting process. 86% felt that they were better able to understand risks associated with their surgery better, using their model. Interestingly 20% of patients found that the models could cause unwanted emotions.
Conclusions: 3D printed models are a useful and efficient adjunct to information giving in an outpatient setting or during the informed consent process. All patients preferred the use of models over 2D imaging for patient education.
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