Emergency operations on newborns are risky because there is little time for preliminary examinations. In a recent case of a girl born in Rzeszow, Poland, with a malformation of the occipital bone, particular urgency was required as the brain was partially exposed. This could have resulted in death within a short period of time. The time pressure was particularly great because the diagnosis was made immediately after birth.
However, such an intervention is considered to be particularly dangerous due to the close proximity to the brain, which is why precise planning of the operation is very important. Two 1:1 skull models, which were made on the basis of MRT and CT images of the head, were made within a very short time.
The medical team at the University Children’s Hospital in Kraków received support from Krzysztof Grandys and Paweł Ozga from e-Nable Poland, an organization that gives away 3D-printed prosthetic hands for children, and from Sygnis SA, a company specializing in the use of 3D printers in medicine.
Only 96 hours were available from birth to the operation. Within that time the two skulls were printed, one on a FlashForge Photo 8.9s in resin photo printing. This skull was available to the doctors for the first diagnosis and preparatory work after just eight hours.
The model printed in white resin shows the missing layer of bone at the back of the head.
The second model was produced in 24 hours using laser sintering technology on a Sinterit Lisa Pro 3D printer. Since this technique does not require any support structures, the model was very well suited for practicing the operation in advance.
The skull model, manufactured using the laser-sintering process, served as a practice object for the operating doctors.
With the help of these detailed models, the operating doctors were able to plan and practice the operation and finally carry it out successfully on the little girl. More information can be found in a case study published online.
To home page