A simulated patient at the University of Malaya makes use of different
materials to mimic the look and feel of human tissue. Credit / Courtesy of Vicknes Waran
There’s no such thing as too much practice when it comes to brain surgery. But it’s hard for beginner neurosurgeons to get real hands-on experience. Most residents learn by watching and assisting experienced surgeons.
Newbies can practice on cadavers or use simulators, of course. But neither of those alternatives is quite the same as operating on a real, live patient, for better and for worse.
That’s why 3-D printers might help the doctors do a better job. At the University of Malaya in Malaysia, neurosurgeons are using 3-D printers to make realistic skulls and brains that residents can use to hone their skills.