Using Three-Dimensional Printing to Fabricate a Tubing Connector for Dilation and Evacuation

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This is a proof-of-concept study to show that simple instrumentation problems encountered in surgery can be solved by fabricating devices using a three-dimensional printer. The device used in the study is a simple tubing connector fashioned to connect two segments of suction tubing used in a surgical procedure where no commercially available product for this use is available through our usual suppliers in New Zealand.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A cylindrical tubing connector was designed using three-dimensional printing design software. The tubing connector was fabricated using the Makerbot Replicator 2X three-dimensional printer. The connector was used in 15 second-trimester dilation and evacuation procedures. Data forms were completed by the primary operating surgeon. Descriptive statistics were used with the expectation that the device would function as intended in all cases.

EXPERIENCE:

The three-dimensional printed tubing connector functioned as intended in all 15 instances.

CONCLUSION:

Commercially available three-dimensional printing technology can be used to overcome simple instrumentation problems encountered during gynecologic surgical procedures.

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