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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Modelling and Manufacturing of a 3D Printed Trachea for Cricothyroidotomy Simulation

Gregory Doucet, Stephen Ryan, Michael Bartellas, Michael Parsons, Adam Dubrowski, Tia Renouf
Curēus 2017 August 18, 9 (8): e1575
29057187
Cricothyroidotomy is a life-saving medical procedure that allows for tracheal intubation. Most current cricothyroidotomy simulation models are either expensive or not anatomically accurate and provide the learner with an unrealistic simulation experience. The goal of this project is to improve current simulation techniques by utilizing rapid prototyping using 3D printing technology and expert opinions to develop inexpensive and anatomically accurate trachea simulators. In doing so, emergency cricothyroidotomy simulation can be made accessible, accurate, cost-effective and reproducible. Three-dimensional modelling software was used in conjunction with a desktop three-dimensional (3D) printer to design and manufacture an anatomically accurate model of the cartilage within the trachea (thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, and the tracheal rings). The initial design was based on dimensions found in studies of tracheal anatomical configuration. This ensured that the landmarking necessary for emergency cricothyroidotomies was designed appropriately. Several revisions of the original model were made based on informal opinion from medical professionals to establish appropriate anatomical accuracy of the model for use in rural/remote cricothyroidotomy simulation. Using an entry-level desktop 3D printer, a low cost tracheal model was successfully designed that can be printed in less than three hours for only $1.70 Canadian dollars (CAD). Due to its anatomical accuracy, flexibility and durability, this model is great for use in emergency medicine simulation training. Additionally, the model can be assembled in conjunction with a membrane to simulate tracheal ligaments. Skin has been simulated as well to enhance the realism of the model. The result is an accurate simulation that will provide users with an anatomically correct model to practice important skills used in emergency airway surgery, specifically landmarking, incision and intubation. This design is a novel and easy to manufacture and reproduce, high fidelity trachea model that can be used by educators with limited resources.

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