3D Printing technology in neurosurgery: A quest for the perfect fit
Dr. Col Shashivadhanan
Introduction 3Dimensional Printing (3DP), also known as additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping, is a technical and industrial revolution that might significantly change the way we live. It is a form of rapid prototyping, which enables the creation of three-dimensional structures from computer-aided design (CAD) data sets. This is physically achieved through an additive layering process. The recent expansion of 3DP technology into the field of neurosurgery has prompted a widespread investigation on its utility. In this paper, we present out experience with 3D printing in neurosurgical practice. We review the current body of literature and analyze its relevance in shaping future of neurosurgery with special focus on Spine surgery. Materials & Methods: A retrospective study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital where 7 patients with Cranio Vertebral Junction anomalies were operated using 3DP assisted prototypes.10 cases of Calvarial defects were offered cranioplasty where in the implants were made using 3DP technology. These cases were compared with historical controls who shared similar profiles as the 3DP assisted group. The objective comparisons were studied. Our results were compared with data from world literature. Attempt was made to list the advantages and limitations of this technology with special reference to spine surgery. Observation& Inference: Our study conclusively proved that use of 3DP in surgeries of complex CVJ anomalies not only helps in better preoperative planning but also improves the ease of surgery and makes the workflow accurate seamless and less time consuming. It makes the procedure and its attendant risks easier to explain to the lay man. In the ultimate analysis it is poised to become an inescapable requirement while planning and executing complex CVJ anomaly surgeries.