Richard Justin Garling, Xin Jin, Jianzhong Yang, Ahmad H. Khasawneh, and Carolyn Anne Harris
Hydrocephalus affects approximately 1 in 500 people in the US, yet ventricular shunting, the gold standard of treatment, has a nearly 85% failure rate. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is an alternative surgical approach for a specific subset of hydrocephalic patients, but can be limited by the inability of neurosurgical residents to practice prior to patient contact. The goal of this study was to create an affordable ETV model and endoscope for resident training.
Open-source software was used to isolate the skull and brain from the CT and MR images of a 2-year-old boy with hydrocephalus. A 3D printer created the skull and a 3D mold of the brain. A mixture of silicone and silicone tactile mutator was used to cast the brain mold prior to subsequent compression and shearing modulus testing. A mimetic endoscope was then created from basic supplies and a 3D printed frame. A small cohort of neurosurgical residents and attending physicians evaluated the ETV simulator with mimetic endoscope.
The authors successfully created a mimetic endoscope and ETV simulator. After compression and shearing modulus testing, a silicone/Slacker ratio between 10:6 and 10:7 was found to be similar to that of human brain parenchyma. Eighty-seven percent of participants strongly agreed that the simulator was useful for resident training, and 93% strongly agreed that the simulator helped them understand how to orient themselves with the endoscope.
The authors created an affordable (US$123, excluding 3D printer), easy-to-use ETV simulator with endoscope. Previous models have required expensive software and costly operative endoscopes that may not be available to most residents. Instead, this attempt takes advantage of open-source software for the manipulation and fabrication of a patient-specific mold. This model can assist with resident development, allowing them to safely practice use of the endoscope in ETV.
Sulmaz Zahedi, Miles Hudson, Xin Jin, Richard Justin Garling, Jacob Gluski, Caden Nowak, Neena I. Marupudi, Paul Begeman, and Carolyn A. Harris
This investigation is aimed at gaining a better understanding of the factors that lead to mechanical failure of shunts used for the treatment of hydrocephalus, including shunt catheter-valve disconnection and shunt catheter fracture.
To determine the root cause of mechanical failure, the authors created a benchtop mechanical model to mimic mechanical stressors on a shunt system. To test shunt fracture, cyclical loading on the catheter-valve connection site was tested with the shunt catheter held perpendicular to the valve. Standard methods were used to secure the catheter and valves with Nurolon. These commercial systems were compared to integrated catheters and valves (manufactured as one unit). To test complete separation/disconnection of the shunt catheter and valve, a parallel displacement test was conducted using both Nurolon and silk sutures. Finally, the stiffness of the catheters was assessed. All mechanical investigations were conducted on shunts from two major shunt companies, assigned as either company A or company B.
Cyclical loading experiments found that shunts from company B fractured after a mean of 4936 ± 1725 cycles (95% CI 2990–6890 cycles), while those of company A had not failed after 8000 cycles. The study of parallel displacement indicated complete disconnection of company B’s shunt catheter-valve combination using Nurolon sutures after being stretched an average 32 ± 5.68 mm (95% CI 25.6–38.4 mm), whereas company A’s did not separate using either silk or Nurolon sutures. During the stiffness experiments, the catheters of company B had statistically significantly higher stiffness of 13.23 ± 0.15 N compared to those of company A, with 6.16 ± 0.29 N (p < 0.001).
Mechanical shunt failure from shunt catheter-valve disconnection or fracture is a significant cause of shunt failure. This study demonstrates, for the first time, a correlation between shunt catheters that are less mechanically stiff and those that are less likely to disconnect from the valve when outstretched and are also less likely to tear when held at an angle from the valve outlet. The authors propose an intervention to the standard of care wherein less stiff catheters are trialed to reduce disconnection.