Project Description

3D printing for neuro-oncology

Patient-specific 3D models based on earlier made MRI scans

Patient centered communication is fundamental in order to empower patients towards better insight, shared decision making and coping with disease. It is shown that patients seem to desire information about their disease and treatment options. However, many patients experience communication difficulties during consultation with their physician. While patients find it hard to understand radiological images of their tumor, physicians sometimes struggle to clearly explain the surgical plan and risks to patients. Nowadays technology allows one to print patient-specific 3D models based on earlier made MRI scans.


To identify perceived barriers, facilitators, positive effects and negative effects of using patient specific 3D-models of the tumor-organ complexion during consultation.


In this qualitative study, the study population consisted of brain tumor patients and their neurosurgeons at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center. The amount of patients that were included depended on how many patients were considered suitable for participation by their surgeons. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to determine the value of the use of 3D models. An interview guide based on the implementation model of Grol and Wensing was used during interviews. Two researchers independently analyzed all interviews. The findings were placed in frameworks of Donebedian and Gagnon to represent the facilitators, barriers, positive effects and negative effects.


The main facilitators and positive effects for using a 3D-model were related to better understanding of disease, treatment and risks. The model was perceived to help accepting treatment. Patients and neurosurgeon indicated that the model contributed to better communication. The main barriers and negative effects were related to emotional confrontation.


This study shows that patient specific 3D-models are a promising tool to improve patients´ understanding of disease, treatment and risks. The model might be emotionally confronting. Future studies should be focused on quantifying the data to support current findings.

This project is still ongoing. We will publish the final report will in a scientific journal.

[slideshare id=49866979&doc=3diseaseprinting-150626083919-lva1-app6891]