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J Neurosurg. 2015 Oct;123(4):1070-6. doi: 10.3171/2014.12.JNS141867. Epub 2015 Jun 26.

Development of a 3D-printed external ventricular drain placement simulator: technical note.

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Departments of 1 Mechanical Engineering.
Neurosurgery, and.
Learning Health Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; and.
Advanced Institute of Manufacturing with High-Tech Innovations, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan.


In this paper, the authors present a physical model developed to simulate accurate external ventricular drain (EVD) placement with realistic haptic and visual feedbacks to serve as a platform for complete procedural training. Insertion of an EVD via ventriculostomy is a common neurosurgical procedure used to monitor intracranial pressures and/or drain CSF. Currently, realistic training tools are scarce and mainly limited to virtual reality simulation systems. The use of 3D printing technology enables the development of realistic anatomical structures and customized design for physical simulators. In this study, the authors used the advantages of 3D printing to directly build the model geometry from stealth head CT scans and build a phantom brain mold based on 3D scans of a plastinated human brain. The resultant simulator provides realistic haptic feedback during a procedure, with visualization of catheter trajectory and fluid drainage. A multiinstitutional survey was also used to prove content validity of the simulator. With minor refinement, this simulator is expected to be a cost-effective tool for training neurosurgical residents in EVD placement.


EVD = external ventricular drain; ICP = intracranial pressure; VR = virtual reality; external ventricular drain model; intracranial pressure; simulator; surgical technique; ventriculostomy; virtual reality

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