The use of 3D-printed models could lead to less operation time and blood loss and fewer postoperative complications in adults who undergo endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas and other conditions, according to findings published in Pituitary.
“Several factors influence the outcome of endoscopic endonasal surgery, including the tumor volume, patient age, lesion location and sphenoid pneumatolysis,” Xiaobing Jiang, of the department of neurosurgery at Union Hospital of Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei, China, and colleagues wrote. “An accurate model of the target tumor structure is a major prerequisite for a successful [pituitary adenoma] resection, especially for macroadenomas, as this may avoid disastrous complications due to suboptimal treatment.”
Jiang and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of 20 adults who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery at Union Hospital in Wuhan. Participants were included based on similar tumor sizes, the presence of no other diseases and nonintuitive tumor identification. All surgeries in the cohort occurred between January and August 2017, with 10 participants (mean age, 44.4 years; 50% women) receiving CT and MRI before surgery; the remaining 10 also received an operation with 3D printing (mean age, 41.2 years; 50% women).
To create the 3D models, images from CT and MRIs were combined. The 3D printer then used this information to create the model, which took between 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 4 hours, 32 minutes, to design and 10 hours, 12 minutes, and 22 hours, 34 minutes, to print.
After surgery, the researchers found that mean operation time was lower in participants who had 3D models compared with participants who did not (127 minutes vs. 143.4 minutes; P = .007). In addition, there was less blood loss in participants with 3D printing compared with participants without (159.9 mL vs. 170 mL; P = .009). The researchers noted that there were postoperative complications in 20% of the 3D-printing group and 40% of the CT and MRI alone group.
“As it is highly precise and allows personalization, 3D-printing technology has started to be applied in medicine in recent years. In neurosurgery, 3D-printing technology can provide models for the patients’ disease characteristics, such as skull defects, brain tumors, intracranial aneurysms and intracranial vascular malformations,” the researchers wrote. “We believe that with its continuous development, 3D-printing technology will be applied in clinical practice in the near future.” – by Phil Neuffer
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.