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Play dough as an educational tool for visualization of complicated cerebral aneurysm anatomy

BMC Medical Education
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1472-6920-5-15
  • Research Article
  • Education
  • Psychology


Background Imagination of the three-dimensional (3D) structure of cerebral vascular lesions using two-dimensional (2D) angiograms is one of the skills that neurosurgical residents should achieve during their training. Although ongoing progress in computer software and digital imaging systems has facilitated viewing and interpretation of cerebral angiograms enormously, these facilities are not always available. Methods We have presented the use of play dough as an adjunct to the teaching armamentarium for training in visualization of cerebral aneurysms in some cases. Results The advantages of play dough are low cost, availability and simplicity of use, being more efficient and realistic in training the less experienced resident in comparison with the simple drawings and even angiographic views from different angles without the need for computers and similar equipment. The disadvantages include the psychological resistance of residents to the use of something in surgical training that usually is considered to be a toy, and not being as clean as drawings or computerized images. Conclusion Although technology and computerized software using the patients' own imaging data seems likely to become more advanced in the future, use of play dough in some complicated cerebral aneurysm cases may be helpful in 3D reconstruction of the real situation.

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