Liesbeth Kemel March 30, 2016

Michael Slag was suffering from a growing Pancoast tumor, a rare type of lung cancer. As it intertwined with several critical nerves and blood vessels, surgical tumor resection was complicated as the functioning of his arm could be damaged. To reduce this risk and keep the intervention minimally-invasive, the surgical team at Mayo Clinic used Materialise Mimics software to convert the MRI and CT scans to a 3D-printable model of the tumor and the surrounding tissue and ribs. On the model they could observe exactly how the tumor was wrapped around several of Michael’s critical nerves and blood vessels.

The team at the Mayo Clinic recognized that a 3D-printed model of the tumor would be a valuable tool. Thoracic surgeon Shanda Blackmon says, “We frequently may have a plastic surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, a vascular surgeon, and myself: all involved in a Pancoast tumor resection. When that’s the case, there’s nothing better than having a model, for the whole team to meet around and plan the case.”

Visualizing the pancoast tumor in Materialise Mimics

Image courtesy of the Mayo Clinic

Armed with the knowledge of what they would find, surgeons were able to keep the surgical intervention far less invasive than it would have been without 3D planning. Less cutting meant that the surgery was short, and Michael was back on his feet the very first night. Three days later, he was even able to go back home.

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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.  

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