Does Combining Technology and Surgery Work?
When Dexter Clark was born, he had severe kidney problems. This led to complications when he ate, meaning he could only consume food through a feeding tube. When the medical staff at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust realised that Dexter would require a transplant and that his father was going to be the donor, they had to identify whether the transplanted kidney would be too big for Dexter’s body.
When trying to devise a plan for the surgery, they realised that if they combined different medical technologies together, then it would become significantly easier to plan the surgery. The medical team realised that if they mapped both Dexter’s and his father’s abdomens, they could see if the new kidney would fit in the cavity. The surgeons then took the images and used a 3D printer to map out a physical model of the abdomen and kidney in question. This allowed the surgeons to base the surgery on a physical model - allowing them to carry out the procedure perfectly.
A study carried out in July 2018 from Brian Cervenka et al asked the question: “Is it feasible to create patient-specific 3D printed sinus and skull base models that are anatomically accurate and provide realistic haptic feedback comparable to cadaveric models?” This study asked the question of whether 3D printing will be an effective aid to surgery procedures, and whether the model will be anatomically accurate to the point of being used regularly. It was found that there was less than a 5% difference between patient and 3D model measurements, meaning that the 3D printed models were anatomically and haptically accurate and would be useful in surgical planning and as a supplemental, alternative simulation, or training model.
When comparing Dexter Clark’s specific case and the study carried out by Cervenka et al, it shows that the use of several technologies in complex cases of surgery can often lead to the best possible outcome for the patient, as the surgical team can plan and execute their plan perfectly. The usefulness and overall success of combining these technologies is and should be continually scrutinised and tested, in order for further developments and discoveries to be made.
You can discover the latest technology and techniques for surgeons and their surgical teams at the Surgery Convention at the NEC, Birmingham on the 17th and 18th March 2020. Across the 100 cutting edge exhibitors and the 60 CPD accredited seminars, surgeons, procurement managers, and hospital directors will find the information, techniques, technologies, and services they need to ensure the delivery of perfect procedures for every patient.
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