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3D Printed Tracheal Models Aids in Airway Evaluation After Patient’s Surgery

by • April 27, 2016 • No Comments

One primary way that the medical industry has been impacted by 3D printing innovation is with patient-specific 3D versioning, that has allowed doctors to accurately prepare for intensive procedures. BMC Anesthesiology, an open access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on all aspects of anesthesiology, published a case report of the Beijing, China-based Peking University Third Hospital’s Department of Anesthesiology on January 19, 2016, entitled “Three-dimensional printing as an aid to airway evaluation after tracheotomy in a patient with laryngeal carcinoma.” The 77-year-old patient involved in the study had undergone a total laryngectomy, that is the full removal of the larynx and separation of the airway of the mouth, nose and esophagus, an incredibly complex and dangerous procedure.

Computed tomography of the patient's neck

Computed tomography of the patients neck

An evaluation had shown a fistula forming at the place of the tracheotomy incision. By means of at CT scanner and Materialise Mimics software, that is utilized for the segmentation of 3D medical images, the research team received a 3D version of the patients trachea. After exporting the 3D reconstructed image as an STL file, the team utilized a MakerBot Replicator 2 to 3D print patient-specific inner and outer tracheal diameters. The versions were printed in white PLA and were moderately complex, that met the requires of the researchers.

By means of the different types of tracheal 3D versions, the research team, that included Bin Han, Yajie Liu, Xiaoqing Zhang, and Jun Wang, discovered a few glaring issues that require immediate attention. They discovered slight scar retraction around the stoma that was made by the tracheostomy, and in addition slight stenosis at a lower place the stoma in the trachea too. By means of the inner tracheal version, the team made an anesthesia plan for the patient, and and so practiced the incubation steps to prepare for the procedure.


3D versions of the within and outside tracheal diameters

According to the study, there were a few drawbacks to the 3D printing technique, as it may not tackle the require for color variations in the tracheal mucosa, that assist distinguish inflammation of the airway wall. But, the team had an incredibly positive experience with 3D printing innovation.


3D printing was a revolutionary technique and has matured. The successful outcomes of our case suggest the excellent practicability of preanesthesia planning, and additional widespread use is encouraged,”they write in their study. “In the next, this innovation may be advantageous utilized not just to evaluate the complex airway but in addition turn it into artificial tracheal tubes for specific patients, thereby realizing individualized anesthesia.”


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