The Brainy Bunch implemented electrical stimulation functionality in a 3D anatomical model of the brain for neurosurgical training.
The functional brain model is seen with neural tracts (shown as wires), which are detected using the circuit setup, and displayed on the interface.
The current gold standard in neuroncolytic tumor resection surgery training involves anatomical and practical labs conducted on cadaver brains. Cadaver brains are fixed and provide several obstacles to accurate modeling, including inaccuracies in material properties and the inability to respond to electrical stimulation. Electrical stimulation, or cortical mapping, is a critical component of invasive brain surgery that helps neurosurgeons avoid damaging essential cortical pathways. Stimulation is traditionally applied to the brain in a technique that neurosurgery residents learn through observation in the operating room. Our aim is to develop a functional, anatomically accurate brain model that will respond to electrical stimulation and enable residents to simulate cortical brain mapping outside the operating room. Our model was developed using 3D printing and silicone molding techniques. Patient data was compiled to develop an STL file for creating the brain mold, which was then 3D printed with PVA, a dissolvable polymer. Silicone was used to fill the mold, and a silicone tumor was also placed inside. The PVA mold was dissolved, and the electrical components were inserted into the model. The electrical components allow for detection of the tracts within a distance of approximately 5mm, through a process known as electrical coupling. The results of the detection, including an estimate of the current distance from the tract, the type of tract, as well as LED feedback, are displayed in a custom interface for the user. This product was tested for material and electrical properties and has been determined to meet critical design inputs and user needs. Value is added to the market through cost reduction, increased access to training, and potential for expansion into the field of preoperative planning. A provisional patent has been filed for this device, and we expect for it to be regulated through the FDA Class I pathway.