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Vol. 28. Num. 6.November - December 2017
Pages 259-310
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Vol. 28. Num. 6.November - December 2017
Pages 259-310
Clinical Research
DOI: 10.1016/j.neucie.2017.05.001
3D printing in neurosurgery: A specific model for patients with craniosynostosis
Impresión 3D en neurocirugía: modelo específico para pacientes con craneosinostosis
Borja Jiménez Ormaberaa, Ricardo Díez Valleb, Javier Zaratiegui Fernándezc, Marcos Llorente Ortegad, Xabier Unamuno Iñurriteguid, Sonia Tejada Solísb,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
a Facultad de Medicina, Pamplona, Spain
b Departamento de Neurocirugía, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
c Laboratorio de Arquitectura -- Fabricación Digital, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de la Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
d Laboratorio de Ingeniería Médica, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
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Tables (1)
Table 1. Patients’ clinical data.

Craniosynostosis is a rare condition and requires a personalised surgical approach, which is why we consider the use of 3D printed models beneficial in the surgical planning of this procedure.

Material and methods

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic skull models were designed and printed from CT images of patients between 3 and 6 months of age with craniosynostosis of different sutures. The models were used to simulate surgical procedures.


Four models of four patients with craniosynostosis were produced: two with closure of the metopic suture and two with sagittal suture closure. The mean age of the patients was 5 months (3–6m) and the mean duration of the surgery was 286min (127–380min).

The acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic models printed for the project proved to be optimal for the simulation of craniosynostosis surgeries, both anatomically and in terms of mechanical properties and reaction to surgical instruments.


3D printers have a wide range of medical applications and they offer an easy and affordable way to produce skull models. The acrylonitrile butadiene styrene material is suitable for the production of operable bone models as it faithfully reproduces the mechanical characteristics of bone tissue.

3D printing
Surgical planning

La patología de craneosinostosis es infrecuente y requiere una intervención quirúrgica muy individualizada, por lo que consideramos que la práctica con modelos impresos 3D podría ser beneficiosa en la planificación quirúrgica de esta patología.

Material y métodos

Diseño e impresión de modelos de cráneo en plástico acrylonitrile butadiene styrene a partir de las imágenes de TAC de pacientes entre 3 y 6 meses de edad con craneosinostosis de diferentes suturas, y reproducción de las intervenciones quirúrgicas sobre los modelos.


Se realizaron 4 modelos de 4 pacientes con craneosinostosis: 2 con cierre de la sutura metópica y 2 de sutura sagital. La edad media de los pacientes fueron 5 meses (3-6m) y la duración media de la cirugía 286min (380-127min).

El modelo impreso en plástico acrylonitrile butadiene styrene para el proyecto resultó óptimo para la simulación de las cirugías de craneosinostosis, tanto anatómicamente como en cuanto a propiedades mecánicas y reacción al instrumental quirúrgico.


Las impresoras 3D tienen un amplio abanico de aplicaciones médicas. Es posible realizar un modelo de cráneo de forma sencilla y asequible. El material acrylonitrile butadiene styrene es adecuado para la realización de modelos de hueso operables, pues reproduce fielmente las características mecánicas óseas.

Palabras clave:
Impresión 3 D
Planificación quirúrgica


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