Cost-effective, personalized, 3D-printed liver model for preoperative planning before laparoscopic liver hemihepatectomy for colorectal cancer metastases
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PURPOSE: Three-dimensional (3D) printing for preoperative planning has been intensively developed in the recent years. However, the implementation of these solutions in hospitals is still difficult due to high costs, extremely expensive industrial-grade printers, and software that is difficult to obtain and learn along with a lack of a defined process. This paper presents a cost-effective technique of preparing 3D-printed liver models that preserves the shape and all of the structures, including the vessels and the tumor, which in the present case is colorectal liver metastasis. METHODS: The patient's computed tomography scans were used for the separation and visualization of virtual 3D anatomical structures. Those elements were transformed into stereolithographic files and subsequently printed on a desktop 3D printer. The multipart structure was assembled and filled with silicone. The patient underwent subsequent laparoscopic right hemihepatectomy. The entire process is described step-by-step, and only free-to-use and mostly open-source software was used. RESULTS: As a result, a transparent, full-sized liver model with visible vessels and colorectal metastasis was created for under $150, which-taking into account 3D printer prices-is much cheaper than models presented in previous research papers. CONCLUSIONS: The increased accessibility of 3D models for physicians before complex laparoscopic surgical procedures such as hepatic resections could lead to beneficial breakthroughs in these sophisticated surgeries, as many reports show that these models reduce operative time and improve short term outcomes.
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