Craniectomy for Cerebral Bone Tumor Resection

The idea behind.

3D Printing can help surgeons to improve existing procedures or to create innovative approaches.

In this study, we show how a 3d printed anatomical model can support neurosurgeons to plan a complex craniectomy for cerebral bone tumor resection.

This study aimed to improve pre-operative planning using a novel approach with the support of 3D patient-specific models reconstructed from MRI or CT images.


We generated the 3D model of the patient’s skull from the CT scan routinely acquired before the surgical intervention.

Skull was accurately segmented paying attention to include all the fine internal bone details. The presence of these thin structures in the final model was considered crucial for the surgeon to properly plan the bone craniectomy and to simulate the positioning of a cerebral metal plate.

Image segmentation is an image elaboration process which requires medical images with volumetric content. It is usually a semi-automatic process by which the anatomical structures of interest are detected and isolated. The result of an image segmentation process is a set of “labels” used to create a virtual model which can be exported in STL format, feasible for 3D printing.


The final model was printed with HP MJF 580 Printer in Nylon PA12.

The technology was selected in order to preserve all the fine details of the internal skull and to provide the surgeon with a physical replica able to properly mimic bone tissue.

HP MJF 580

Model challenges

Essential challenges of this model were the following:

⦁ Recreate the feeling and mechanical properties of the skull with the right material

⦁ Position and design interlocking parts that allow the surgeon to evaluate the internal anatomy and the inner tumor extention

⦁ Preserve all the fine bones details

The described clinical case show how a patient-specifc physical replica can help the surgeon to properly plan the intervention and to choose the device that better fits patient’s anatomy.

Clinical Specialty: Neurosurgery

Printer: MJF 580 Color (HP®)

Technology: Multi Jet Fusion

Material: Nylon PA12