Liesbeth Kemel February 9, 2016

A 47-year-old woman in West Palm Beach, Florida, needed to undergo a nephrectomy to remove a renal mass. The urologist working on her case requested a patient-specific 3D-printed model.

Segmenting the kidney with renal mass using Mimics

As the patient had reacted to the radiographic iodinated contrast of a CT scan in the past, the doctors took an MRI scan instead. From segmentation of the DICOM image files, US-based company Softcode Systems worked with Materialise software to create a digital, patient-specific 3D model of the entire kidney. They segmented the normal renal parenchymal tissue, leaving out negative space where the tumor was positioned, and printed it. In addition, a second 3D model was created, showing the kidney cut along the coronal plane. This model served to better demonstrate the level of tumor invasion into the renal hilum.

Separating the renal mass from the kidney in 3-matic

The 3D-printed models did not differentiate the mass from the renal sinus, so a new, multi-color version of the models was created to better show the tumor invasion. These two filament models – both the entire kidney and the coronal bisected model – enabled the surgeon and patient to visualize the tumor invasion in much better detail, clearly differentiating normal from abnormal tissues. For the surgeon, the models proved helpful in visually explaining to the patient why a total rather than partial nephrectomy was necessary.

3D-printed kidney model with renal mass

Dr. Eric Baumel, founder of Softcode Systems, is convinced that the added value of 3D Printing for medical applications lies in its ability to treat unique cases uniquely. “Every 3D Printing case is different, and must be tailored for the individual patient’s specific clinical condition, anatomy, and imaging techniques. The Materialise Mimics software lets you do exactly that.”

Read the original blog post by Dr Eric Baumel, Softcode Systems, explaining the workflow in more detail.

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Materialise is unfamiliar with the 3D-printed model used in this case. When evaluating a 3D printed device which is intended for the use in the diagnosis, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, where applicable, ensure that the manufacturer is registered or cleared with the FDA for distribution in the United States.