Simulation of and training for cerebral aneurysm clipping with 3-dimensional models

Neurosurgery. 2009 Oct;65(4):719-25; discussion 725-6. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000354350.88899.07.


Objective: With improvements in endovascular techniques, fewer aneurysms are treated by surgical clipping, and those aneurysms targeted for open surgery are often complex and difficult to treat. We devised a hollow, 3-dimensional (3D) model of individual cerebral aneurysms for preoperative simulation and surgical training. The methods and initial experience with this model system are presented.

Methods: The 3D hollow aneurysm models of 3 retrospective and 8 prospective cases were made with a prototyping technique according to data from 3D computed tomographic angiograms of each patient. Commercially available titanium clips used in our routine surgery were applied, and the internal lumen was observed with an endoscope to confirm the patency of parent vessels. The actual surgery was performed later.

Results: In the 8 prospective cases, the clips were applied during surgery in the same direction and configuration as in the preoperative simulation. Fine adjustments were necessary in each case, and 2 patients needed additional clips to occlude the atherosclerotic aneurysmal wall. With these 3D models, it was easy for neurosurgical trainees to grasp the vascular configuration and the concept of neck occlusion. Practicing surgery with these models also improved their handling of the instruments used during aneurysm surgery, such as clips and appliers.

Conclusion: Using the hollow 3D models to simulate clipping preoperatively, we could treat the aneurysms confidently during live surgery. These models allow easy and concrete recognition of the 3D configuration of aneurysms and parent vessels.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Angiography / methods
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology*
  • Cerebral Arteries / surgery*
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / pathology*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / education
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / instrumentation
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods
  • Polymers
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Teaching
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / education*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / instrumentation
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / methods


  • Polymers