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International Angiology 2019 October;38(5):418-24

DOI: 10.23736/S0392-9590.19.04148-8


language: English

Trends in use of 3D printing in vascular surgery: a survey

Patrizia MARTI 1 , Flavio LAMPUS 1, Domenico BENEVENTO 2, Carlo SETACCI 3

1 Department of Social Political and Cognitive Science, University of Siena, Siena, Italy; 2 Senese University Hospital, Siena, Italy; 3 Department of Medical, Surgical Science and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Siena, Italy

INTRODUCTION: The purpose of the following research was to provide a systematic survey on the use of additive manufacturing in vascular surgery. The survey focuses on applications of 3D printing in endovascular surgery like endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), a quite unexplored application domain. 3D printing is an additive production process of three-dimensional objects starting from a three-dimensional digital model. This kind of manufacturing process is getting great attention in the medical field and new applications have emerged in recent years especially thanks to the combination of additive printing with 3D imaging techniques. The purpose of the study is to reflect on additive manufacturing and its potential as an inclusive manufacturing practice which can provide benefits at economic and societal level.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: The article first introduces the use of 3D printing in surgery by summarizing the results of previous reviews which reveal three main usages of 3D printing: anatomic models, surgical tools, implants and prostheses. These studies point out that vascular surgery is still an unexplored field of application of 3D printing. Starting from this result, a new survey was carried out in databases Pubmed, Elsevier, Research Gate and ACM Digital Library for terms related to 3D printing in vascular surgery using the following keywords: 3D printing, vascular surgery, EVAR, aneurysm. The search screened articles published up to 2019 for relevance and practical application of the technology in vascular surgery, in particular the topic is related to the treatment of complex abdominal aortic aneurysm.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Initially 437 records published up to 2019 were found, but then were narrowed down to 29 full-text articles. The findings reveal that in addition to the applications found in the previous studies, new experiments are ongoing related to the use of 3D printing in the “Off label” practice to manually fenestrate the stent to improve the accuracy of the EVAR.
CONCLUSIONS: Different applications of the use of 3D printing and digital imaging in vascular surgery have been experimented with a different maturity level. Whilst the technology has increased its potential in the latest years, the number of studies documented in the literature is still quite narrow. Further research is necessary to fully test the potential of 3D printing, also in combination with other technologies (e.g. 3D imaging and CNC cutting). Early experimentations show that these technologies have the potential to radically change the vascular surgery practice in the near future, in particular in treatment like EVAR, to improve the planning and therefore the success of the surgery.

KEY WORDS: Printing, three-dimensional; Vascular Surgical procedures; Aneurysm

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