A study of three-dimensional reconstruction and printing models in two cases of soft tissue sarcoma of the thigh

Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2021 Jun 11. doi: 10.1007/s11548-021-02384-3. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: The aim of our study was to demonstrate the value of three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction and three-dimensional printing (3DP) models in two cases of soft tissue sarcoma (STS) of the thigh.

Materials and methods: Two patients with STS were recruited and underwent enhanced CT and MRI scans. Then, the 3D models were reconstructed and printed using the obtained data, and five experts were invited to assess the segmentation quality. In addition, 34 junior, intermediate and senior general surgeons were recruited to demonstrate the value of 3D models in preoperative planning and invited five surgeons to complete the assessment of 3D models-assisted intraoperative navigation. Finally, 32 interns were enrolled to explore the significance of 3D models in medical education.

Results: All experts agree with the accuracy of the 3D models. The application of 3D models in preoperative planning improved the understanding of general surgeons (P = 0.000, P = 0.000, P = 0.000). After the planning tools were exchanged between the two groups, senior surgeons in group A showed more significant improvements in performance than junior and intermediate surgeons in group A (P = 0.001, P = 0.006). Surgeons unanimously agree on the value of 3D models in intraoperative navigation. When applied for the education of medical interns, these models could enhance their understanding of pathologic anatomies (P = 0.036).

Conclusion: In two operations for STS of the thigh with complex adjacencies, our study demonstrates that 3D models are of great value for preoperative planning, intraoperative navigation and medical education. More importantly, these models were more helpful to senior general surgeons.

Keywords: Education; Intraoperative navigation; Preoperative planning; Soft tissue sarcoma (STS); Three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction; Three-dimensional printing (3DP).