BMJ Case Reports 2018; doi:10.1136/bcr-2018-224464
  • Images in…

Personalised 3D-printed model of a chest-wall chondrosarcoma to enhance patient understanding of complex cardiothoracic surgery

  1. Stephen Arthur Barnett5
  1. 1Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Department of Surgery, Austin Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Department of Anaesthesia, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Box Hill Hospital, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5Cardiothoracic Surgery, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Laurence Weinberg, laurence.weinberg{at}
  • Accepted 7 May 2018
  • Published 26 May 2018


Novel technologies, such as additive manufacturing (also termed three-dimensional (3D) printing), play an important role in surgical planning. Their role in enhancing a patient’s understanding of their medical condition and increasing their satisfaction with their treatment is also gaining increased attention in medicine and surgery. As an illustration, we describe the case of a 65-year-old Caucasian man who presented with left-sided anterior chest-wall pain which was associated with a visible palpable lump. He had a body mass index of 27 kg/m2, and CT of the thorax demonstrated a 62 mm × 60 mm × 48 mm tumour involving multiple structures, including the left fourth to sixth ribs, costal cartilages and the pericardium overlaying the right ventricle (figure 1). Transthoracic echocardiography showed normal ventricular function without any indication of tumour infiltration into the myocardium.

Figure 1

Axial (right) and sagittal (left) CT slices of the thorax demonstrating a large chondrosarcoma projecting through the chest wall.

Given the extensive involvement of neighbouring structures by this complex tumour, a 3D model was printed to enhance the patient’s understanding of his medical condition (figure 2). The model was …

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