Through the Rapid Prototyping Lab of Mount Sinai, neurosurgeons are exploring ways to make aneurysm surgeries less risky by reducing the amount of time that a patient’s brain is exposed in the OR. For background, an aneurysm is a dangerous health condition in which a blood vessel balloons in a localized segment. If left untreated, aneurysms can expand to strain the blood vessel wall and potentially rupture. One treatment for brain aneurysms is called “clipping”, whereby a neurosurgeon opens the patient’s skull, gently retracts the brain, identifies the aneurysm, and places a small clip around the aneurysm’s base to prevent normal blood flow to the area. This prevents the area from growing and thereby avoids the threat of rupture. 

3D printing is offering a new way to approach aneurysm clipping by giving surgeons the valuable information of where the anuerysm is located before they enter the OR. By segmenting the imaging data from a 7-Tesla MRI to leave only the brain’s vasculature, surgeons are able to 3D print the aneurysm structure on a ProJet 3500 for in-hand exploration. This lets them plan their delicate surgical route with care and calm in advance of the first cut, allowing for more efficient and streamlined surgeries. This means less time with the brain exposed and less time with the patient under anesthesia.

This is just one of many ways that 3D printing is advancing healthcare solutions and enhancing quality of life for individuals and society. What role does 3D printing play in your life?