An 18 year old male presented with a severe case of neurofibromatosis type 1 scoliosis. His rib was dislocated inside the spinal column, adding great pressure on the spinal cord, which in turn put the patient at an extremely likely risk of paralysis if the procedure were to go ahead. 

The surgeon had reservations about proceeding and came to the conclusion that it was better not to undertake the surgical procedure as the risks of doing so were far greater than the benefits to the patient. However, he realised it would be incredibly difficult to communicate these problems to the patient and his family from the scans alone. 

The surgeon requested a 1:1 scale, patient specific 3D model which enabled him to explain precisely why the planned procedure came with potentially excessive risks compared with the benefits, helping the family understand and ultimately come to the fully informed decision of not proceeding with the corrective surgery. This incredibly tough decision, aided by the 3D model, meant that although the surgery did not go ahead as planned the overall outcomes were much better for the patient.