What is it about?

In neuroscience, stereotactic brain surgery is a standard yet challenging technique for which laboratory and veterinary personnel must be sufficiently and properly trained. There is currently no animal-free training option for neurosurgeries; stereotactic techniques are learned and practiced on dead animals. Here we have used three-dimensional (3D) printing technologies to create rat and mouse skin-skull-brain models, specifically conceived for rodent stereotaxic surgery training. Our real-size 3D printed replicas could enable cost- and time-efficient, animal-free neurosurgery training. They can be absolute replacements for stereotaxic surgery techniques practice including but not limited to craniotomies, screw placement, brain injections, implantations and cement applications.

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Why is it important?

This project is a significant step forward in implementing the replacement, reduction, and refinement (3Rs) principles to animal experimentation. These 3D printed models could lead the way to the complete replacement of live animals for stereotaxic surgery training in laboratories and veterinary studies.


We see this project as a major animal welfare step forward that could significantly reduce the use of animals for brain surgery training. These skin-skull-brain models provide an absolute replacement of both rats and mice for all types of brain surgery training.

Marie Bainier
F Hoffmann-La Roche AG

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: 3D printed rodent skin-skull-brain model: A novel animal-free approach for neurosurgical training, PLoS ONE, June 2021, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253477.
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