3D Printing: Size Comparisons

on May 16, 2019

Although it is not often the case, there are times when size really does matter. In some cases, it is absolutely essential that the jury get an accurate understanding of the size of the structures being discussed in order to appreciate all the arguments being discussed. For that reason, there has always been an occasional need for traditional medical models. These models can be held up for presentation to give an appreciation of normal anatomy. But sometimes, case specific anatomy needs to be displayed. For cases like this, Trial Exhibits has embraced the cutting edge technology of 3D printing. In one specific case it was essential to compare the size of a normal adult heart with the tiny size of a newborn infant heart. When shown side-by-side it is easy to appreciate how small an infant heart actually is. This helped to provide an understanding of how complex heart surgery would be on a newborn.

In another case, it was necessary to show the actual size of an enlarged kidney. In this case, the contralateral kidney remained normal in size, so the model of both kidneys offered a great comparison. This model challenged the argument that clipping of the renal artery should have been easy to accomplish during surgery. The view of the actual size kidney showed how the enlarged kidney enveloped the renal artery complicating the dissection.

This third case involved a tumor of the female pelvis. For this model, we had the pre-operative MRI scans available in order to create our final product. It was essential for us to show that this 3D model was based on slices from all three planes: axial, sagittal and coronal. This allowed our experts to authenticate both the size and shape of this tumor. Finally, the 3D model was created so that it could be passed around an appreciated as something real rather than just slices from the films.

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