East Kent Hospitals surgeons use 3D printed models to improve urology patient care

Surgeons at East Kent Hospitals are investigating ways to improve patient outcomes by using 3D printed models and advanced image augmentation of body parts.

The tools being tested are said to be able to show the location of tumours such as prostate cancer, blood vessels and other structures, with urology consultants using them as visual aids to help explain procedures to patients, including where the issue they are experiencing is and why the medical team have made their recommendations. They are also investigating whether the tools can be used to help plan operations.

The team are creating 3D visualisations from MRI and CT scans with Innersight Labs, and working with McKenzie Developments to create 3D printed models.

The procedures will be carried out by the trust’s robot, with surgeons using instruments inserted into the body through small incisions to operate. A high-tech camera is also inserted to provide a clear view.

Consultant Urological Robot Surgeon Sashi Kommu said that the project “helps the whole team in the operating theatre understand and plan what we are doing and I believe it could help us improve our outcomes in cancer surgery. We are using leading-edge technology to define the parameters of the tumour which means we can optimise our planning for surgery potentially even more accurately than ever before.

“We continue to push the boundaries of innovation to help us provide the best possible care and results for our patients.”

Consultant Interventional Radiologist Dr Akash Parshar who helps with translating conventional images to 3D image augmentation, said “Advanced imaging and 3D anatomical reconstructions would surely enhance patient understanding and surgical outcomes. It is going to be the next stage in cancer treatment algorithms.”