Mastery of the expanded endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) requires anatomical knowledge and surgical skills; the learning curve for this technique is steep. To a great degree, these skills can be gained by cadaveric dissections; however, ethical, religious, and legal considerations may interfere with this paradigm in different regions of the world. We assessed an artificial cranial base model for the surgical simulation of EEA and compared its usefulness with that of cadaveric specimens. The model is made of both polyamide nylon and glass beads using a selective laser sintering (SLS) technique to reflect CT-DICOM data of the patient’s head. It features several artificial cranial base structures such as the dura mater, venous sinuses, cavernous sinuses, internal carotid arteries, and cranial nerves. Under endoscopic view, the model was dissected through the nostrils using a high-speed drill and other endonasal surgical instruments. Anatomical structures around and inside the sphenoid sinus were accurately reconstructed in the model, and several important surgical landmarks, including the medial and lateral optico-carotid recesses and vidian canals, were observed. The bone was removed with a high-speed drill until it was eggshell thin and the dura mater was preserved, a technique very similar to that applied in patients during endonasal cranial base approaches. The model allowed simulation of almost all sagittal and coronal plane EEA modules. SLS modeling is a useful tool for acquiring the anatomical knowledge and surgical expertise for performing EEA while avoiding the ethical, religious, and infection-related problems inherent with use of cadaveric specimens.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology