Neurobites – 3D Printing

Every week, the BVNS neurologists, residents and interns convene to discuss a human or veterinary neurology/neurosurgery article.

NeuroBites is a digestible synopsis written by Dr. Bush of the article covered in journal club.

Welcome to NeuroBites.

Hespel, AM. Three-Dimensional Printing Role in Neurologic Disease.
Vet Clin Small Anim 48 (2018) 221–229.

Click HERE for the full article.

What is 3D printing?
3D printing is when you take a 2 dimensional image like a CT image or MRI image and use special software and a printer to create an exact physical, hold in your hand (3D) model.

What might be the clinical applications at BVNS/BAVI for 3D printing?
Once a 3D model is created then surgical planning or just understanding the extent of the pathology or even showing the owner becomes much easier. I can imagine where an MRI review includes a model that the owner can hold in their hand of the problem we need to tackle in their dog or cat.

Have we used any 3D printing at BVNS?
Dr. Barker and Dr. Brewer have already presented a case at a Veterinary Neurosurgical Meeting where they used a 3D printed model.
A synopsis is provided with this link


Can you show me some other examples from today’s JC as expertly presented by Dr. Palma?

Example 1.

A – CT Scan, B – MRI scan, C -3D reconstruction of cranium, D – 3D reconstruction of the meningioma, E – merged image from C and D to show 3D illustration of skull and tumor, E – physical model


Example 2.

One of the most difficult surgeries performed at BVNS is a reduction and stabilization of an atlanto-axial subluxation (this is where the first and second vertebrae are out of position because ligaments are absent or have failed). The first 2 images show the back of the skull, C1, C2 and part of the C3 veretbrae. NOTICE THAT THE THIRD IMAGE HAS PLATES THAT HAVE BEEN CONTOURED TO THE 3D MODEL AND ARE NOW READY TO BE PLACED AT SURGERY.

Example 3.

Image A and B show the extent of infection of the bone of the skull secondary to a dog bite – the third image is a metallic mesh that has been contoured to the skull to protect the brain after the bone has been removed.

Example 4.

  • Radiograph and CT of the L7 fracture, B and C – 3D illustrations, C – ACTUAL 3D model, D – post-surgical CT illustration with the pins being shown in pink

I am imagining that BVNS and perhaps BAVI will be printing 3D models to assess risk of surgery, reduce surgical time (improve success rates and cost), and to explain pathology to owners and students / residents and ourselves.

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