3D printing is used worldwide for preparing and planning surgeries, but most of the time it is only used for very complex surgeries. Surgeries that are performed more often, like for complex bone fractures typically don’t use 3D printing as method for preparation. Exactly that will be changed at a Dutch hospital.
At the hospital in Tilburg 3D printing will become the standard method for preparing surgeries of bone fractures in the future. Of course, not every bone fracture needs to be treated with surgery but the more complex ones, that often occur after accidents do. The required 3D models are created based on CT scans. After that they are 3D printed and then the surgeons can start to plan their surgery with the printed 3D model.
The used 3D printer should work 24 hours a day and print one 3D model after another. That’s no surprise because a little bit bigger model could easily take 16 hours or more to be printed.
These 3D models provide me, as a trauma surgeon, with so much more data. At a moment’s notice, I can suddenly see exactly where the fracture is and how it can be optimally treated. Even very small fractures, often overlooked on a screen, become very visible
While patients in Tilburg already have a better treatment with these methods there is a study running by Lars Brouwers that should show how much 3D printing as method for preparation and planning surgeries really helps. Therefore, he gives surgeons CT scans or 3D printed models of different bone fractures. The surgeons then decide how they would handle the surgery and Brouwers compares the results in his study.
We also believe that these 3D printed models can help young and less experienced surgeons to get to grips with particularly complex surgery techniques. This new study will also look into that