Korean J Radiol.  2021 May;22(5):706-713. 10.3348/kjr.2020.0682.

Three-Dimensional Printing of Congenital Heart Disease Models for Cardiac Surgery Simulation: Evaluation of Surgical Skill Improvement among Inexperienced Cardiothoracic Surgeons

  • 1Department of Radiology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Radiology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Institute of Radiation Medicine, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.


To evaluate the impact of surgical simulation training using a three-dimensional (3D)-printed model of tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) on surgical skill development.
Materials and Methods
A life-size congenital heart disease model was printed using a Stratasys Object500 Connex2 printer from preoperative electrocardiography-gated CT scans of a 6-month-old patient with TOF with complex pulmonary stenosis. Eleven cardiothoracic surgeons independently evaluated the suitability of four 3D-printed models using composite Tango 27, 40, 50, and 60 in terms of palpation, resistance, extensibility, gap, cut-through ability, and reusability of. Among these, Tango 27 was selected as the final model. Six attendees (two junior cardiothoracic surgery residents, two senior residents, and two clinical fellows) independently performed simulation surgeries three times each. Surgical proficiency was evaluated by an experienced cardiothoracic surgeon on a 1–10 scale for each of the 10 surgical procedures. The times required for each surgical procedure were also measured.
In the simulation surgeries, six surgeons required a median of 34.4 (range 32.5–43.5) and 21.4 (17.9–192.7) minutes to apply the ventricular septal defect (VSD) and right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) patches, respectively, on their first simulation surgery. These times had significantly reduced to 17.3 (16.2–29.5) and 13.6 (10.3–30.0) minutes, respectively, in the third simulation surgery (p = 0.03 and p = 0.01, respectively). The decreases in the median patch appliance time among the six surgeons were 16.2 (range 13.6–17.7) and 8.0 (1.8–170.3) minutes for the VSD and RVOT patches, respectively. Summing the scores for the 10 procedures showed that the attendees scored an average of 28.58 ± 7.89 points on the first simulation surgery and improved their average score to 67.33 ± 15.10 on the third simulation surgery (p = 0.008).
Inexperienced cardiothoracic surgeons improved their performance in terms of surgical proficiency and operation time during the experience of three simulation surgeries using a 3D-printed TOF model using Tango 27 composite.


3D printing; Congenital heart disease; Simulation surgery; Cardiothoracic surgery
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