Spanish hospital leverages 3D printing use in surgical instruments
Cardiovascular surgeons at the Hospital Regional Universitario de Málaga (Spain) are using instruments created with 3D printing techniques as a complement in some extracorporeal surgery interventions and as part of the surgical instruments of which there is currently no conventional material available.
3D printing allows to create instruments 'tailored' to the patient adjusting to his particular anatomical characteristics as it takes the measurements of the images obtained from echocardiographs and high precision CT scanning performed at the hospital. In fact, these instruments have already been successfully used for more than a year in 30 patients.
Its application in open cardiac surgery, where its usefulness has already been demonstrated, includes surgical procedures such as aortic valve replacement; Changes of aorta segments, by aneurysms or aortic dissections; Or in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (abnormal enlargement of the ventricle).
Thus, an aortic valve protector has been created, which allows the valve to be protected during the intervention; A paravalvular probe, for the probing of valve holes minimizing the risk of perforation; Or an intraoperative diameter meter of the aorta, which makes it possible to accurately measure the diameter of the valve to be replaced by a graft. Another instrument is a gauge to calibrate the incision of the skin, in order to avoid a greater injury than necessary in the access to the heart through the sternum.
These new personalized instruments, which are used within the sterile surgical field - although they are not prostheses and are not housed inside the human body - are made of a plastic material that allows their sterilization and new use, since some of them, such as surgical incision gauge can be used in several patients.
This innovation has been incorporated by the cardiovascular surgeon of the La Paz Hospital (Madrid), Ignacio Díaz de Tuesta, during the period of rotation as an expert he has performed at the Regional Hospital of Malaga.