Empowered Surgical Expertise
King’s College Hospital is one of London’s busiest teaching hospitals. Originally founded as a training facility in 1840, the institution is internationally renowned for its work in patient treatment, particularly in liver and fetal medicine.
“For us, having a 3D printed model for restoring skull defects cranioplasties is a must” — Dr. Muhanad Hatamleh, King’s College Hospital
To reduce operating times and improve pre-op planning, the maxillofacial, neurosurgery and orthopedic departments of King’s College Hospital turned to PolyJet 3D printing technology to produce accurate, customized surgical planning models. The departments use a 3D printer to convert patient CT scans into physical, patient-specific models to plan complex procedures and highlight any problematic areas before surgery. These physical models enable the surgeons to prepare in ways that computer models cannot.
“In cases of skull meningioma, where there is a tumor growing in the skull, the surgeon needs to remove the tumor and restore the skull during the same surgery,” Hatamleh said. “Producing a 3D printed model of the skull with the tumor enables our surgeons to clearly visualize the outcome of the surgery before it is performed, and make better decisions on the size of the implant required to restore the skull defect after removing the tumor.”
With 3D printing, the hospital saved about 30% more time in surgery as a procedure that once took 10-12 hours now only took 6-7 hours. Amongst the significant reductions in operating time and costs, 3D printing technology plays a crucial role in improving patient care as the ability to print fine details is critical to retaining specific and important details of a patient’s anatomy.
“For us, having a 3D printed model for restoring skull defects cranioplasties is a must,” Hatamleh said. “It enables us to correctly fill the defect to normal contours, which is then reproduced and used to put a titanium plate in place. The plate is implanted to not only restore the missing skull contours but also protect the brain parenchyma. Overall, this results in a better aesthetic outcome and improves patients’ confidence and quality of life.”