At birth, the skull is separated in sections that later fuse together. This time allows for the brain to grow. Premature fusions of the skull inhibit normal development, which results in deformities and pressure that can have serious effects. Cerebral spinal fluid can gather within the brain any time during juvenile years, causing permanent brain damage and obscured vision. Trauma injuries to the skull can result in concussions. With so many things that can happen to the brain and its protective structure, the skull, or cranium, a 3-D cranial model provides neurosurgeons with a tool that better emulates the exact bone structure to aid in diagnosing ailments and pre-planning surgery when necessary. The model gives a clear view of the segments of the skull, which is most useful in determining the exact location of trauma and other ailments.
A 3-D cranial model consists of the separate sections of the human skull and shows the exact lines of fusion. When diagnosing a situation, the model completes the pictures from one-dimensional images such as x-rays and CT scans, putting them into more life-like form. A fusion can appear as only a fuzzy line in an x-ray. This better view aids in pinpointing the exact location affected to make a diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is made, the model can then be used to pre-plan surgery by aiding in targeting the precise spot for incisions and placement of shunts, or drainage tubes, when needed.
Without a 3-D model of the skull, a surgeon can only assume the one-dimensional images provided clearly display the complication. They are in the dark when going into the operating room with only these images to guide them. Matching the one-dimensional images to a 3-D model puts surgeons in a better position for making an accurate diagnosis and completing a successful surgery on the first attempt. Success on the first attempt is essential to preventing brain damage, shortening recovery time, and saving money on additional surgeries.
The use of a 3-D model has the potential to save thousands of dollars on second surgeries or more time in the operating room during the first one. More importantly, a successful surgery is key to preventing brain damage and even death. Request that your neurosurgeon make use of a 3-D cranial model when making life-altering decisions about you or your child. The price of a 3-D cranial model is a small investment towards good health and assured quality of life.