3D Printed Model of Airway for Clinical Simulation
3D Printed Model of Airway for Clinical Simulation
Background: The present medical curriculum aims at training the students to be proficient in performing techniques required for clinical practice. This is best achieved through clinical simulation, which has emerged as a successful method for clinical learning. Residents in respiratory medicine need to be trained in the procedure of bronchoscopy for which a functional model of the airway is required. Airway mannequins for this purpose can be produced using 3D printing technology, which involves the usage of sophisticated software. Subjects and Methods: Serial axial CT images of the chest, revealing details of the respiratory tract were selected as the base resource to recreate the bronchial tree by 3D printing. This DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) images after conversion into STL (Stero lithography) format were transferred into a 3D printer and physical models were made from these data, using Vero clear and rubber. This model which had a life-like form and consistency required for practicing the skill was connected to an airway mannequin using an adaptor to practice the skill. Conclusions: Axial CT scan images provide the base data for reconstructing the airway of a patient, using 3D printing technology and appropriate software. Such reconstructions can be used to produce a functional model of the airway, which can be used for training in bronchoscopy. The training system could be connected to a monitor thereby facilitating tracking of the probe of the bronchoscope. Repeated trials make the trainees perfect their technique. Our attempt to replicating the tracheobronchial tree for such training has been a success.
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