Vezirska D, Milev M, Laleva L, Nakov V, Spiriev T. Three-Dimensional Printing in Neurosurgery: A Review of Current Indications and Applications and a Basic Methodology for Creating a Three-Dimensional Printed Model for the Neurosurgical Practice. Cureus. 2022;14(12):e33153

PMID: 36733788


Introduction Three-dimensional (3D) printing is an affordable aid that is useful in neurosurgery. It allows for better visualization and tactile appreciation of the individual anatomy and regions of interest and therefore potentially lowers the risk of complications. There are various applications of this technology in the field of neurosurgery. Materials and methods In this paper, we present a basic methodology for the creation of a 3D printed model using only open-source software for medical image editing, model generation, pre-printing preparation, and analysis of the literature concerning the practical use of this methodology. Results The literature review on the current applications of 3D printed models in neurosurgery shows that they are mostly used for preoperative planning, surgical training, and simulation, closely followed by their use in patient-specific implants and instrumentation and medical education. MaterialiseTM Mimics is the most frequently used commercial software for a 3D modeling for preoperative planning and surgical simulation, while the most popular open-source software for the same applications is 3D Slicer. In this paper, we present the algorithm that we employ for 3D printing using HorosTM, Blender, and Cura software packages which are all free and open-source. Conclusion Three-dimensional printing is becoming widely available and of significance to neurosurgical practice. Currently, there are various applications of this technology that are less demanding in terms of technical knowledge and required fluency in medical imaging software. These predispositions open the field for further research on the possible use of 3D printing in neurosurgery.