Low Cost 3D Printing for the Creation of Cervical Cerclage Pessary Used to Prevent Preterm Birth: A Preliminary Study [26R]

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Cervical cerclage pessaries have become increasingly utilized for cervical incompetence and in patients at risk for preterm birth. Commercially available pessaries come in various sizes using a “one size fits most” approach which does consider each woman's unique anatomy. The effectiveness of these pessaries is limited by poor fit, and a lack of easily achieved customization. This preliminary study was designed to test the feasibility of 3-dimensional printing techniques to create personalized/patient specific 3D printed cervical cerclage pessaries.

METHODS:

Patient specific imaging data was collected at a routine prenatal ultrasound, including cervical length/radius and distance from external cervical OS to the anterior vaginal fornix. Using SolidWorks (Dassault Systemes) software, these measurements were converted into geometry files and a 3D pessary was electronically rendered in stereolithography (STL) format. An inversion mold of this spatial model was created using the same software. A hospital based prototyping center was used to print the 3D mold on a ProJet 3500 HDMax (3D Systems) printer, which was then filled with silicone (Sylgard 184, Dow Corning) to create a medical grade pessary.

RESULTS:

Multiple patient specific medical grade 3D pessaries were printed at a cost of less than $50 per mold.

CONCLUSION:

Current 3D printing techniques can be used to create low cost personalized/patient specific cerclage pessaries from measurements during routine prenatal ultrasounds. This method overcomes the commercial limitations requiring special ordering of a device which may not fit a patient's specific need. This technique provides an alternative means for rapidly obtaining a cervical pessary for medical application.

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