Engineering additive manufacturing and molding techniques to create lifelike willis’ circle simulators with aneurysms for training neurosurgeons

Pin Chuan Chen, Jang Chun Lin, Chung Hsuan Chiang, Yi Chin Chen, Jia En Chen, Wei Hsiu Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Neurosurgeons require considerable expertise and practical experience in dealing with the critical situations commonly encountered during difficult surgeries; however, neurosurgical trainees seldom have the opportunity to develop these skills in the operating room. Therefore, physical simulators are used to give trainees the experience they require. In this study, we created a physical simulator to assist in training neurosurgeons in aneurysm clipping and the handling of emergency situations during surgery. Our combination of additive manufacturing with molding technology, elastic material casting, and ultrasonication-assisted dissolution made it possible to create a simulator that realistically mimics the brain stem, soft brain lobes, cerebral arteries, and a hollow transparent Circle of Willis, in which the thickness of vascular walls can be controlled and aneurysms can be fabricated in locations where they are likely to appear. The proposed fabrication process also made it possible to limit the error in overall vascular wall thickness to just 2–5%, while achieving a Young’s Modulus closely matching the characteristics of blood vessels (~5%). One neurosurgical trainee reported that the physical simulator helped to elucidate the overall process of aneurysm clipping and provided a realistic impression of the tactile feelings involved in this delicate operation. The trainee also experienced shock and dismay at the appearance of leakage, which could not immediately be arrested using the clip. Overall, these results demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed physical simulator in preparing trainees for the rigors involved in performing highly delicate neurological surgical operations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2901
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPolymers
Volume12
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Additive manufacturing
  • Aneurysm clipping surgery practice
  • Dissolution
  • Fully transparent and elastic vascular Simulator
  • Molding
  • Neurosurgeon surgical simulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics

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