Exploration of Additive Manufacturing-Informed Aneurysm Repairs to Optimize Blood Flow Patterns

Alyssa Ann Loepfe


Cerebral aneurysm is a pathology in which the blood vessel wall in the brain weakens, fills with blood, and results in a balloon-like bulge. As the aneurysm grows, it applies pressure on the surrounding vasculature and brain tissues, causing symptoms like headache and visions problems. The wall can become so thin that one’s blood pressure may cause the aneurysm to rupture, which is often fatal. This research focuses on using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to analyze blood flow patterns before and after proposed surgical modifications for an aneurysm model. A model of the aneurysm, used as a reference in this project, was obtained from a previous project in which it was generated from computed tomography angiography (CTA) images. Because of over-smoothing, a new geometry needed to be constructed to perform flow analysis using the original CTA images. The process began by using ITK-SNAP to segment the geometry and using Geomagic Design X to finalize the geometry by removing unnecessary vasculature. The file was then imported into Hypermesh and a mesh for CFD was generated. The mesh and geometry was then imported into Fluent. Boundary conditions were applied for the CFD analysis based on a set of assumptions. Flow simulations were performed to validate the assumptions made and characterize the blood flow patterns for the baseline case. Surgical modifications were implemented. CFD analysis was then repeated to determine the effects of each modification on blood flow patterns. The geometry model of the aneurysm was then printed using additive manufacturing (AM) for patient education and surgical treatment planning. The results of this research will allow surgeons to determine the best treatment option to improve the efficiency and success of surgical intervention for cerebral aneurysms and provide insight for patient learning to increase compliance with suggested surgical interventions.


Cerebral aneurysm; Computational fluid dynamics; Treatment planning

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