CICO Rescue Cricothyroidotomy Trainer - Vortex Approach

by drandybuck, published

CICO Rescue Cricothyroidotomy Trainer - Vortex Approach by drandybuck Sep 12, 2017


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This is the first free, open access, fully functional, 3D-printable neck/larynx combination cricothyroidotomy trainer.

This version 1.0, updates will be made based on your feedback.

These models were created by Dr Andy Buck and are distributed under a Creative Commons license as a free educational model to teach the procedure of cricothyroidotomy, a life saving medical procedure performed in a "Can't Intubate Can't Oxygenate" (CICO) Rescue situation.

These models have been designed to supplement the Vortex Approach to Airway Management and CICO Rescue teaching material available at http://vortexapproach.org/

This is a 2 part model:

1) Larynx - this is best printed with a flexible filament such as Polyflex or Ninjaflex. It is an anatomically correct adult larynx piece that fits into the neck model, but can also be used as a standalone bench-top cric trainer.

2) Neck - this is best printed in PLA or ABS. This is a CAD generated anatomical representation of an adult neck, with a chin, sternum and tracheal parts that mimic real anatomy.

Each part can also be easily re-sized using software such as Simplify3D to create paediatric versions of any size.

To use the trainer, place the larynx into the neck, then place a piece of medical tape such as sleek over the cricothyroid space (to act as a cricothyroid membrane), then slide a sheet of 3-5mm foam (to act as skin - EVA/closed cell foam works best), 10cm in width, through the vertical slots on the neck model to cover the larynx, pull it down taut so that it comes out of the elevated gap on each side, then place the neck on a flat surface. This will hold the skin snugly in place during the procedure. This way each learner can take a turn performing a cricothyroidotomy, then simply lift the skin, replace the cricothyroid membrane tape, slide the skin along a few centimetres and pull it back down for the next learner.

Extra thicker foam can be added under the thin foam skin to mimic subcutaneous fat or swelling. The model is also water-proof and washable (in tap water - not dishwasher!) so other simulation props such as fake blood can also be used (for example, by placing a fluid-containing zip-lock bag with fake blood between two foam layers).

Double sided tape or velcro can be used to hold the neck on a table or board for stability.

We would like to acknowledge the University of Dundee, BodyParts3D and The Database Center for Life Science as the original source of the larynx file which has been modified for this project.

The original source file for the larynx model is available here:

If you make either of these, please upload a photo using the "I made one" link above, we'd love to see how they turn out.

Print Settings


Print larynx using flexible filament such as Ninjaflex or Polyflex.
Depending on your printer settings, it can take 2-3 hours to print the larynx.

Print neck using PLA or ABS.
As it is a large model, it can take 12-14 hours to print on a standard desktop 3D-printer.

How I Designed This

Design process

These models took hundreds of hours of work to design, prototype, print, refine, test, re-model and update, with this cycle repeated many times for each part.

The larynx was modified from the original version using programs such as Blender and Meshmixer.

The neck model was created using Autodesk Fusion 360.

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