Mar 4, 2016 | By Benedict
In November 2015, Prokar Dasgupta, Professor of Urology at the London Clinic, successfully removed a cancerous tumor from a patient’s prostate using a 3D printed replica prostate as a pre-surgical aid. Dr Clare Allen, a consultant radiologist at the clinic, facilitated the 3D printing process.
The 3D printed model (left) and removed specimen with tumor area circled
65-year-old Alexander Spyrou, a resident of London, UK, must have been extremely worried when doctors discovered a malignant tumor in his prostate. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer found in men, and although it can often be treated successfully, it is still the fifth most deadly cancer amongst males—the cancer caused 307,000 deaths in 2012 alone.
Fortunately, an expert medical team at the London Clinic, combined with the technological advantages afforded by 3D printing, was able to remove Spyrou’s tumor. The patient underwent an MRI scan, after which Dr Allen was able to create a 3D model of the prostate using MIM software. The replica prostate was then 3D printed by Nuada Medical, before being given to Professor Dasgupta to examine. According to the surgeon himself, this 3D printed model was a great help, as it gave him a (literal) feel for the task at hand.
"One of the disadvantages of doing prostate surgery the way I do it, with robotics, is the lack of touch,” explained Dasgupta. “While you can see things better in 3D, HD, magnified 10x, you lose this crucial sense of touch. In this patient, I could feel the tumor in the 3D model and feel how close the tumor was to the surface. Normally, we plan where the tumor is in our minds but here I held the model in my hand as I performed the procedure with the Da Vinci Robot, where I'm seated remotely at a console. The model allows for better planning and accuracy—which is what you want to hear in cancer surgery.“
As well as removing the cancerous tumor, the surgical team’s use of 3D printing provided other important benefits to Spyrou: “There is another aspect to it,” Dasgupta explained. “The nerves for erections are on the sides of the prostate. We have spared these nerves. The cancer in Mr Spyrou has been removed successfully and additionally, he was continent straightaway, with no reduction in his quality of life post-surgery.”
Prof. Prokar Dasgupta
When the surgery was performed back in November 2015, Spyrou became the first patient to take advantage of the London Clinic’s 3D printing technology. The patient opted to try the experimental procedure instead of radiotherapy and, to this day, the patient has no regrets. The 2-hour operation required 6 small incisions in the stomach area, through which robotic arms could be fed. These incisions were closed with staples after seven days.
"I naturally felt apprehensive but having involved my wife and discussed the matter at every stage with her, and after meeting with Professor Dasgupta, I felt very comfortable and could not wait to have the procedure done as quickly as possible,” said Spyrou. “As it was at an early stage and there was evidence of cancer I felt it was important to deal with the problem as quickly as possible. There was no point in 'burying my head in the sand’.
"It's only two months since my surgery and my recovery period is ongoing, however, once the catheter was removed after a week at home, I had immediate control of my bladder function, which was wonderful. I am now feeling better every day and looking forward to getting back to a full and active life including traveling and sailing.”
Mr Mark Feneley, the consultant urologist at the London Clinic who referred Mr Spyrou to Professor Dasgupta, added: "Using this 3D technology here at the London Clinic perfectly demonstrates just how much a multi-disciplinary team can achieve. From myself at the diagnostic stage, to Dr Allen in Radiology and Professor Dasgupta as the surgeon, it has brought together all avenues of our expertise and is a truly inspiring achievement.”
The London Clinic is one of the UK’s largest private hospitals, and is located in the Marylebone area of the capital.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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