Medicalxpress, October 4, 2017 – Credit: Nottingham Trent University
Researchers are 3-D printing replica human vertebrae which act and feel like real bone tissue to help train spinal surgeons before they go into live operations.
A project led by Nottingham Trent University aims to give trainee surgeons the “tactic knowledge” of how it feels to partly remove or drill into vertebrae before undertaking procedures on patients.
The models – which are created using powder printing technology to help achieve a lifelike porosity of real bone – feature hard outer layers and a softer centre.
“Consultants undertaking delicate and precise procedures like spinal surgery need as much knowledge and experience as possible as part of their surgical training before going into live operations,” said Professor Philip Breedon, of the university’s Design for Health and Wellbeing Group.
“One error can lead to catastrophic, life-changing consequences for a patient, so it’s imperative that surgeons can prepare themselves thoroughly.
“This research will enable clinicians to experience how performing spinal surgery feels both physically and mentally, but in a safe training environment.”
The project is in collaboration with consultant spinal surgeon Professor Bronek Boszczyk, of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, who is a visiting professor at Nottingham Trent University.