Mayo neurosurgeon resident's 3D printing investment paying off for spine surgeon training

Written by Alan Condon | December 03, 2019 | Print  | Email

A neurosurgeon resident at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is developing a 3D printing program to help train spine and neurosurgeons, reports 3D Print.com.

Six things to know:

1. With the high cost and limited number of cadavers available to residents, William Clifton, MD, invested in a 3D printer to study more cost-effective and efficient approaches to surgical training.

2. 3D printing enables surgeons to plan and practice procedures by creating patient-specific models for around $50, as opposed to a couple of thousand dollars for a cadaver.

3. Dr. Clifton collaborated with a researcher at the Simulation Center at Mayo Clinic to develop hundreds of Biomimetic Human Tissue Simulators, over 30 peer-reviewed publications and several patent submissions for neurosurgical devices.

4. The department of neurologic surgery at Mayo Clinic established a materials science lab with three FDM 3D printers based on Dr. Clifton's work and is planning a dedicated neurosurgery 3D printing space.

5. Spine surgeons have benefitted from practicing complex procedures on 3D-printed anatomies such as navigating through the vertebral artery and spinal cord to place screws in the C2 vertebrae.

6. Dr. Clifton helped develop 14 different models for spine pathologies and is now focusing on brain models.

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