Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (40.48 MB)

Multi-material 3D printing for percutaneous surgical drains

Download (40.48 MB)
posted on 2023-05-05, 03:38 authored by Isabelle Hawkins

A Percutaneous drain is a medical catheter used by Interventional radiologists to drain abscesses or cysts within the human body. The purpose of drainage is to reduce the need for open surgery, decreasing infections and recovery time. Percutaneous drains were initially designed for irrigation, not drainage; a contributing factor to the current 50% procedural fail rate. Alongside; clogging, kinking and infection.

The focus of the project is to mitigate failure with a fundamental redesign of the percutaneous drain, utilising a multidisciplinary research team from various organisations that work in conjunction to address this Issue.

This thesis, while a component of a more significant study, asks the question, ‘how can design research and multi-material 3D printing, provide innovative insights to improve the clinical performance of percutaneous drains?’

Three elements of the overall drainage procedure are focused on; the efficiency of the drains drainage, the insertion and removal procedure, and simulated anatomy models to provide context to each design. These are explored using multi-material 3D printing as a design tool to investigate new geometries, material combinations and dynamic qualities. Multi-material 3D printing is a design enabler which produces fast and accurate prototypes to explore ideas and communicate intentions to the research team.  

The overall aim of this thesis project is to work alongside healthcare professionals cohesively, to develop novel drainage catheter prototypes. This aim will be achieved by utilising multi-material 3D printing for communication, discussion, rapid prototyping, and development. The primary outputs are innovative designs concepts for percutaneous drains, in the form of CAD files and 3D printed prototypes; while the written thesis documents research outcomes, outputs and process 


Copyright Date



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains All Rights

Degree Discipline

Industrial Design

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Fraser, Simon; Guy, Bernard