Orlando Health surgeons using 3D printing to prepare for complex spine procedure

Alan Condon -   Print  |

3D printing is helping pediatric neurosurgeons at Orlando (Fla.) Health prepare for an in-utero surgery to treat spina bifida, a defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly, according to EurekAlert..

The health system is using MRI and ultrasound imaging, coupled with 3D-printed technology, to create customized structures so surgeons can plan procedures, identify potential challenges and reduce complication risks.

The 3D-printed model of the fetus helps educate surgeons on the "shape, size and location of the spinal lesion," and allows them to get the appropriate equipment ready to perform the surgery, Samer Elbabaa, MD, medical director of pediatric neurosurgery at Orlando Health, said in a May 6 news release.

"It's a level of detail that we are not able to see in traditional imaging, but that is extremely valuable in these cases where we cannot actually see the defect ahead of surgery," he added.

Orlando Health works with 3D printers at Digital Anatomy Simulations for Healthcare to develop the models, which feature multiple colors and materials to help surgeons visualize details such as skeletal structure, nerve and vascular anatomy and fluid sacs in the spine and brain caused by spina bifida.

Orlando Health is one of 12 facilities and the only one in Florida offering this type of surgery, according to the report. It has performed 25 procedures using the models through its open fetal surgery program, which was established in 2018.

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