Robotic urologic oncology surgeon Dipen J Parekh (University of Miami Health System, Miami, USA) has become the first in the USA to test a new, preoperative surgical rehearsal technology recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for all genitourinary conditions. The kidney models, made by Lazarus 3D, provide an additional preparation tool for some surgical procedures.
“The company reached out to me, and the device sounded intriguing,” said Parekh. “I thought that this may be a technology that would be worth trying to see if it can add value.”
While surgeons routinely study magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans to understand each patient’s unique anatomy, 3D models offer an added level of detail, as well as giving surgeons the ability to hold, rotate, examine and conduct actual practice surgeries, according to a University of Miami Health System press release.
The Lazarus 3D kidney models for surgical rehearsals are created using imaging data, and are made from pliable materials designed to replicate the look and feel of actual human tissue. The model organ is created with a novel 3D printing technology, and replicates the texture and pliability surgeons encounter in the human body.
“We use a range of proprietary silicone materials that are designed to simulate human tissue,” said Lazarus 3D founder and CEO Jacques Zaneveld. “We can create materials that feel like skin, fat and organs. These materials are so lifelike, you can operate on them using the same tools and techniques used on real patients.”
The release notes that Parekh used these models to prepare for two separate tumour surgeries—one of which required navigating some complex anatomy. “The test run showed me what to expect when I conducted the actual surgery,” he said.
As per Lazarus 3D leadership, these models can be especially helpful for residents and other early-career surgeons. They can also be used as teaching tools for patients, giving surgeons a visual aid to describe an organ’s anatomy and how they expect a surgery to proceed.
“For patients, it is an amazing communication tool and may help improve care,” Zaneveld added. “For physicians, it allows an opportunity to try different approaches and to better anticipate what the real surgery will be like.”
Testing is underway to expand the use of this modelling technology to other organ models, such as bladder and prostate. “This may be a good simulation tool for patients who have a complex anatomy, such as an enlarged prostate or a median lobe, and require surgery,” Parekh stated.