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Use of Patient-specific 3D Printed Models in Preoperative Counseling for Pediatric Skull Base Surgery

February 6, 2024

A study was recently published the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology that assesses the use of 3D models in preoperative parental and patient counseling prior to endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery in the pediatric population. The study was authored by several experts, including Anish Ghodadra, MD, and Elliott Hammersley from the UPMC Department of Radiology.

Pediatric cranial base pathology is anatomically complex and surgical treatment is oftentimes difficult to conceptualize for patients and their families. Three-dimensional (3D) models of the sinuses and cranial base have the potential to enhance patient understanding in numerous domains.

A survey was designed to assess parent and patient-perceived utility of 3D-printed models in surgical counseling prior to pediatric skull base surgery. A total of 10 patients were included in the study. The median age was 9 years (range = 5 months-15 years). Pathology included juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma (JNA) (N = 4), fibrous dysplasia of the maxilla and sphenoid (N = 1), juvenile ossifying fibroma (N = 1), nasal dermoid (N = 2, one with intracranial extension), encephalocele (N = 1), and parapharyngeal ectopic glial tissue (N = 1). Nearly all parents agreed or strongly agreed that 3D printed models were helpful in explaining the patient's skull base pathology (N = 10), surgical plan (N = 10), and possible complications (N = 9). All parents strongly agreed that 3D models should be used routinely in pre-operative counseling for endoscopic endonasal surgery. According to a majority of parents, patients older than 4 years old found the models helpful in understanding their pathology (75%) and surgery (88%).

Patient Specific 3D Models

By allowing direct three-dimensional visualization of the target pathology, 3D models serve as a useful adjunct in enhancing patient comprehension of the pathologic entity, planned surgery, and potential complications prior to pediatric endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery.

Read more about this study on PubMed.

Other study authors include: