Ventriculostomy Simulation Using Patient-Specific Ventricular Anatomy, 3D Printing, and Hydrogel Casting

Justin R. Ryan, Tsinsue Chen, Peter Nakaji, David H. Frakes, L. Fernando Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Educational simulators provide a means for students and experts to learn and refine surgical skills. Educators can leverage the strengths of medical simulators to effectively teach complex and high-risk surgical procedures, such as placement of an external ventricular drain. Objective Our objective was to develop a cost-effective, patient-derived medical simulacrum for cerebral lateral ventriculostomy. Methods A cost-effective, patient-derived medical simulacrum was developed for placement of an external lateral ventriculostomy. Elastomeric and gel casting techniques were used to achieve realistic brain geometry and material properties. 3D printing technology was leveraged to develop accurate cranial properties and dimensions. An economical, gravity-driven pump was developed to provide normal and abnormal ventricular pressures. A small pilot study was performed to gauge simulation efficacy using a technology acceptance model. Results An accurate geometric representation of the brain was developed with independent lateral cerebral ventricular chambers. A gravity-driven pump pressurized the ventricular cavities to physiologic values. A qualitative study illustrated that the simulation has potential as an educational tool to train medical professionals in the ventriculostomy procedure. Conclusion The ventricular simulacrum can improve learning in a medical education environment. Rapid prototyping and multi-material casting techniques can produce patient-derived models for cost-effective and realistic surgical training scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1333-1339
Number of pages7
JournalWorld neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D printing
  • Anatomic modeling
  • Simulation
  • Ventriculostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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