The aim of the present study was to investigate the practical value of a multimaterial and multicolor 3D-printed model in anatomical teaching, surgical training, and preoperative planning of transnasal endoscopic surgery for pituitary adenoma.
Multimodality neuroimaging data were obtained in a 42-year-old healthy male volunteer and a 40-year-old female patient with an invasive nonfunctional pituitary adenoma. Three 3D-printed models were produced: a monomaterial and monocolor model, a monomaterial and multicolor model, and a multimaterial and multicolor model. The effects on anatomical teaching and surgical training for exposing the vidian nerve were assessed by 12 residents, and the training effect was validated on cadavers. The practical values for preoperative planning were evaluated by 6 experienced neurosurgeons. All evaluations were based on 5-point Likert questionnaires.
The multimaterial and multicolor model was superior to the monomaterial models in surgical training for exposing the vidian nerve (Fisher test; p < 0.05). In addition, the multimaterial and multicolor model was superior to the monomaterial models in anatomical teaching and preoperative planning (Friedman test; p < 0.05).
Multimaterial and multicolor 3D printing technology makes it convenient and efficient to produce a practical model for simulating individualized and complex anatomical structures in the sellar region. Furthermore, the multimaterial model can provide a more realistic manipulative experience for surgical training and facilitate the preoperative planning.