3-D Models Used to Reduce Surgery Procedure Times
Author(s): Adrienne Selko
Aug. 27, 2014
Stratasys, a 3-D printer based in Virginia, announced on August 26 that UK medical 3D printing company, Replica 3DM, is using its printers to support 12 National Health Service hospitals in the validation of patient surgery prior to an operation.
The printers convert patient CT scans into physical 3D printed models that are used as surgical guides to test implants for size and fit pre-surgery. This includes re-bending of titanium implant plates to the patient’s exact specifications and pre-operative investigations across maxillofacial, orthopedics, neurology, spinal and ears, nose and throat wards, to identify the correct procedure and improve outcome. There are also cranioplasty models in which the unaffected side of the patient's face is mirrored to produce a 3D printed reconstruction, prior to the fitting and placement of a titanium plate.
This is having a significant impact on the length of surgical procedures leading to substantial reductions in theater costs.
"In the past, surgeons would depend on surgical experience to fit the plates during surgery. This could not only be quite costly, it may also crucially require longer patient anesthesia times,” explains Matthew Sherry, managing director of Replica 3DM. “As demonstrated in a recent maxillofacial procedure at Salisbury District Hospital, the ability to pre-bend the titanium plate prior to surgery enabled surgeons to secure the perfect custom fit. This reduced the number of incisions required and overall theatre time, directly impacting the quality of patient care."
"To us, 3D printing and the medical profession go hand-in-hand, particularly in the planning of complicated procedures,” Sherry added. "A 3D model equips surgeons with a hands-on perspective which cannot be achieved by looking at a computer screen. They can easily rotate, inspect and analyze each surgical procedure on a case-by-case basis, enabling them to pre-bend implants knowing that they will perfectly fit the patient. This is instrumental in eliminating potential problems during operations and can be used as a visual aid when explaining the surgical procedure to patients."