3D Printing


Tuesday 6 August 2019, 3:50 PM 121 Views

The highly realistic, multi-color, transparent models used by surgeons before surgery help them operate with great precision and preserve the kidney, while improving the surgical experience for patients.

The University Hospital of Bordeaux (CHU) is at the forefront of improving the success rates of complex kidney tumor surgery, thanks to a unique multi-material and multi-color 3D printing technology. The CHU is today one of the only hospitals in the world to use a Stratasys J750 , the only multi-material, multi-color 3D printer in the world, for complex kidney tumor operations.

The team of surgeons at the Department of Urology and Renal Transplantation of the CHU are printing 3D models, mixing colors and transparencies of great realism, corresponding to the specific anatomy of the patient, which allow them to operate with great precision and to preserve the kidney, while improving the results for the patients.

Jean-Christophe Bernhard, professor of urology at Bordeaux University Hospital, explains that the improved vision offered by the printed model in 3D makes it possible to identify and avoid damage to the adjacent arteries and vessels that are very delicate, and which, in the case of complex tumors or in large volume, can result in the complete removal of a patient’s kidney.

Saving the patient’s kidney is vital as it reduces the chances of suffering from chronic kidney problems.

“Having a 3D printed model of the patient’s tumor, the main arteries and vessels, each of a different color, gives a clear picture of what we will see during the operation,” says Professor Bernhard. “The ability to visualize the precise location of a tumor among other elements, and in three dimensions, greatly facilitates our surgical planning compared to a 2D scan.”

3D printed models are also used to improve the explanation process for patients, as is the training of surgeons.

A favorable reception by the patients

One of these patients is Carole Ridel, who was recently operated at the CHU. “I was presented with a 3D printed model of my kidney before my operation, and I was immediately reassured. Much more than in all the surgeries I had undergone so far, “she explained. “The sight of such a realistic representation allowed me to understand the process much better than an MRI scan. I could see that the tumors were located on the outer wall of the kidney, not inside the organ, which made me realize that the situation was not as delicate as I thought . ”

A collaborative project to improve communication with patients

With the help of its J750 3D printer, the CHU has also recently created a collaborative research project entitled Rein 3D Print, which aims to determine whether improving patients’ understanding of the surgical procedure also improves outpatient charge (same-day surgery, requiring no overnight stay). According to Professor Bernhard, 3D printed models have contributed to the success of this pilot protocol and have reduced patients’ hospitalization times during preoperative planning.

“The description of kidney tumor surgery using a 2D scan or schematic usually leaves most patients somewhat confused,” says Professor Bernhard. “Introducing a 3D model that clearly shows the tumor makes them comfortable and allows them to understand exactly what we are going to do. An initial questionnaire distributed to patients shows that the vision of models printed in 3D increases their understanding of the operation by almost 50%: this is a considerable advance in terms of general patient care. ”

The deployment of the J750 was made possible thanks to the funding of three partners: the European Union, the Regional Council of New Aquitaine and the Foundation of the University of Bordeaux , of which the CHU is a part.

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DMG Mori