Teaming with Stratasys, The Jacobs Institute in Buffalo, New York – working alongside physicians at Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute and biomedical engineers at the University at Buffalo – designed a revolutionary new approach to repair the complex brain aneurysm for a lucky mother-of-three, Teresa Flint. The lifelike 3D printed replica significantly reduced risks associated with this complex surgery and corrected a near-fatal condition.
“We took the image of the aneurysm based on her scans to generate an exact replica of the entire brain vessel anatomy. The Stratasys 3D printed model enabled us to devise a much more optimal means to treat her,” said Dr. Adnan H. Siddiqui, Chief Medical Officer at The Jacobs Institute, Vice Chair and Professor of Neurosurgery at The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. He is also Director of Neurosurgical Stroke Services for Kaleida Health.
According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, aneurysms are responsible for nearly 500,000 deaths each year worldwide. Resulting from a weakened area within the artery, which fills with blood and creates extreme pressure, about six million people currently live with the issue still undetected. After experiencing diminished vision and headaches, patient Teresa Flint was referred to the specialists at the Gates Vascular Institute – where she was diagnosed with a life-threatening aneurysm.
“Typical treatment options are highly risky, as no two cases are identical and require deep understanding of each patient’s unique vascular anatomy. With the aid of Stratasys’ PolyJet 3D Printing Solutions, surgeons at some of the world’s leading hospitals are now able to quickly pinpoint affected areas on individual patients and practice surgeries on realistic anatomical 3D printed models. This is expected to dramatically minimize risks associated with delays and complications stemming from real-time, in-procedure diagnoses,” said Scott Radar, General Manager of Medical Solutions at Stratasys.
“Our original plan was to treat her aneurysm with a metallic basket – delivered into the area with a tiny tube. After attempting the procedure on the 3D printed replica, we realized it just wasn’t going to work,” noted Siddiqui. “Based on the Stratasys 3D printed model, our team was able to pre-empt potential complications and devise a much more optimal means of treating Teresa’s aneurysm.”
A Better Way: 3D Printing
To create a viable surgical solution, JI came together with Ciprian Ionita, PhD – a Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. Together, they transformed Flint’s CT scan into a single material model to manipulate and test. The life-sized replica was 3D printed utilizing Stratasys flexible TangoPlus™ photopolymer material on the Objet Eden260V professional 3D Printer, thus fully mimicking the feel of human tissue and its vascular structure. Accurately reproducing the aneurysm’s geometry, doctors conducted a range of new testing and simulations to devise potential treatment options. After exploring a handful of approaches on the model in a surgical environment, doctors were able to successfully operate on her actual aneurysm.
“By 3D printing models that mimic vascular feel, we can create an approach I don’t think is achievable any other way,” concluded Michael Springer, Director of Operations and Entrepreneurship at The Jacobs Institute.