3D printing is making a real impact on head and neck cancer. At Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, 3D printing is used in many ways—from preparing for individual patient surgeries by getting familiar with the patient’s specific anatomy prior to surgery, to using the 3D model as a communication tool with patients to ensure proper education and patient consent. Learn more about how 3D models are helping enhance the head and neck cancer treatment we provide.
mm mm. There's really no hospital system that is built as much infrastructure around three D. Printing as mayo has. We've done a lot of studies in the field of head and neck cancer and three D. Printing and how they're complementary. Some of those complementary studies just show better understanding of the patient specific anatomy before entering the operating room, patient specific virtual surgical planning and cutting guides. You can save up to two hours in the operative room which means less time for a patient under anesthesia. And we get a better outcome because of all the design ahead of time. We've developed a specialty called Point of Care manufacturing all the manufacturing as the physicians inside the hospital so there's no translation needed. We go from C. T. Scan 23 dimensional model of complex cancer in every area of the body but particularly in head and neck quite seamlessly. We're combining surgery, biomedical engineering and radiology. All in one place to create not just the three D. Printed models but also the virtual surgical planning. We take the imaging with the patient's anatomy and tumor and vascular charity and then we print those out in a life sized three dimensional way and give them to the surgeon is kind of a road map. We're all used to looking at two dimensional images of patients and CT scans and mris. And three D. Modeling takes that two D. Image and turns it into something that you can hold in your hands and really understand what's the patient's anatomy having guides that are custom fit to their jaw to their bone that we're taking from another part of their body to reconstruct them so that we can get perfect bone to bone contact and and make them look as much like they did prior to ever having a cancer diagnosis. You really have to get it perfect the first time and we have the opportunity to practice plan and make it perfect on a computer before we ever get to the operating room. We found that patient had less complications long term. When we use three D. Modeling, they were less likely to have a break and they were less likely to have that bone fracture or non union when we use three D. Modeling. Another advantage is patient consent. When you let the patient hold their own skull or their own mandible or their own tumor in their hands, then you can start using the model as a communication vehicle. Mayo Clinic is an integrated multidisciplinary team. So instead of just surgeon and neuro radiologist meeting to discuss cases now we have surgeon, neuro radiologist, biomedical engineers and three D. Printing capabilities, all in the same care team. We excel at complex patient care and I think that's where our efficiency and the expertise of all of our colleagues to take care of those complex patients really comes into play.