3D Printed Head Frame for Stereotactic Surgery
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Another project another innovation?
We are always glad to apply and share our manufacturing knowledge and experience with innovating companies of any kind. Not only companies, though. At MicromoldsTM we take social responsibility seriously and this project proves us not being just talkers but also doers.
Neurosurgeries and manufacturing?
Together with the students from Vilnius University (VU) and the neurologists of Vilnius University “Santaros” Clinics we have designed and manufactured a head frame which is used as a locator device for fixing stereotactic arc position. Stereotactic arc is a clinical instrument that allows surgeons to detect and apply the desired trajectory for a stereotactic intervention. Stereotactic (or stereotaxic) interventions, theoretically, are supposed to be performed for treatments of any organ system inside a human body. However, these have only been applied in neurosurgeries (performed on brain) so far yet. What is also worth mentioning is that neurology is quite a new discipline as a field of health sciences. Data about the first use of stereotaxic devices on humans were published in 1933. Since then, the tools of neurosurgical operations were being developed and currently stereotaxic intervention treatments may be applicable for various neurological diseases: from Parkinson’s disease to even cancer (for performing stereotaxic radiosurgeries).
Ideas born from problems?
The main idea of this project, was to propose a new, reliable and comfortable device to position stereotactic arc more precisely. It was born because of the need of solution for the constantly arising arc positioning problem during the surgical interventions while using stereotactic arcs. In fact, during the surgeries, it is highly possible that any unconscious movements of the patient's head might occur and the consequences of these involuntary actions might be tragic. Before the head frame idea came as a solution, someone had always had to hold the head of the patient steadily and upright while the neurologist was trying to screw the arc to the skull bone. The process was extremely inconvenient and risky.
Let us offer a solution
Our 3D Printed Head Frame now can be used by surgeons to pre-position the stereotactic arc by attaching it to the frame by using pins and screws. Thus, the preparation and process of a surgical intervention have become more convenient and reliable, since the head, frame and arc can be locked together in one immobile system. No assistance would be needed anymore and the positioning error of a stereotactic arc can be minimized.
Head stable while head frame sustainable?
For frame prototype manufacturing we used PLA (thermoplastic polyester) - plastic suitable for additive manufacturing FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling). PLA is currently one of the mostly used polyesters in 3D printing. This thermoplastic polyester is considered to be a bioplastic material, since it is sourced from renewable resources rather than from fossil fuels. Also, it may be easily recycled (since PLA has an SPI code 7), incinerated in an economical way (with leaving no residuals and producing a significant amount of energy) or composted till ultimate degradation. And these features of PLA are what makes our 3D printed head frame for stereotactic surgery environmental-friendly. We continuously strive to reduce waste and create sustainable solutions in our projects, while designing and producing economical products from as much renewable and recyclable materials as possible. Not to mention that we are manufacturers on demand. Not to mention that all of our plastic injection molding processes as such are being optimized to save resources and minimize plastic waste.
Applying our 3D printing experience
The main corpus of the head frame was 3D printed. The following processes were drilling the holes for bushings. Holes were used for placing manually controlled actuators to enable custom positioning configurations for different head sizes and forms. Furthermore, the knobs and fixation pads of the actuators were 3D printed. The assembled final prototype can be seen below in the picture.
Job worth doing is worth doing together
Our team is happy to collaborate with professionals of the healthcare industry. Not only is exchanging ideas exciting and rewarding, but also turning them into reality and practice is as well. We are highly grateful for an opportunity to contribute to the future of the neurosurgeries and to the future of medicine as a whole. We care about innovation because we believe that this is what drives our future and that is why we have contributed to this project. We are always looking forward to work on scientifically based innovations which would help the experts of their fields to do their job more easily and provide more advanced services and products.
Eyes on the prize!
There is nothing more exciting to us than to put our efforts on creating something new and helping others. Our team is ambition-driven and we are pushing ourselves towards fulfilling our common mission and achieving our future goals every day.