Rapid prototyping of three-dimensional biomodels as an adjuvant in the surgical planning for intracranial aneurysms

Acta Cir Bras. 2013 Nov;28(11):756-61. doi: 10.1590/s0102-86502013001100002.


Purpose: To fabricate a three-dimensional biomodels of intracranial aneurysms, using rapid prototyping technology, to facilitate optimal anatomical visualization of aneurysms prior to and during surgery.

Methods: Four intracranial aneurysms cases were selected for this study. Using CT angiography images, the rapid prototyping process was completed using a PolyJet technology machine. The size and morphology of the prototypes were compared to brain digital subtraction arteriography of the same patients.

Results: The biomodels reproduced the exact location and morphology of the intracranial aneurysms, particularly the necks, in life-size dimensions and exactly the same as measured by digital subtraction arteriography. The arterial segments adjacent to the aneurysm and arteries anatomically known by the surgeon were also shown, which could guide the surgeon to the aneurysmal segment. The models showed an average unit cost of US$ 130 and each one took an average of 20 hours to be fabricated.

Conclusions: It is possible to fabricate 3D physical biomodels of intracranial aneurysms from CT angiography images. These prototypes may be useful in the surgical planning for intracranial aneurysms to clarify the anatomy, define surgical techniques and facilitate the choice of suitable materials, such as clips and clip appliers.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / methods*