3D Printing is quickly becoming more and more useful in the preparation of surgery. We have seen several surgeons at hospitals around the world begin to use 3D printed replicas of patients’ bones and tissue in order to aid in surgery. We’ve seen the technology aid surgeons in removing a previously believed to be inoperable tumor, as well as help a patent receive a successful kidney surgery after being diagnosed with cancer, thanks in part to a 3D printed replicas of different parts of the body.
Yet another surgeon, this time in California, has used 3D printing to help improve the life of one patient. Juanity Heth, had been suffering from shoulder pain for years. She couldn’t brush her hair, or even wash her back because the pain was so horrendous. Tests performed on Heth indicated that the pain was stemming from a combination of arthritis and a hole in her bone. Before considering doing a shoulder replacement, doctors needed to do a bone graft. However, the problem was in a very hard to reach and see spot on Heth’s bone.
Surgeon, Dr. Russell Petrie decided to utilize 3D printing for the first time at Hoag Orthopedic Institute, in Orange County California, to make an exact replica of Heth’s injured shoulder. In order to do so, Petrie had a CT scan taken of the shoulder, and then with the help of Dinsmore Inc. and their 3D Systems’ Viper 3D printer, was able to create the exact replica of Heth’s shoulder.
“CT Scan images of the shoulder were converted to a 3D Surface model which was then sent to a 3D printer for printing,” explained Dr. Pretrie to 3DPrint.com. “It allowed the surgeon to study the model and get a better appreciation for the deformity, in so far as we were able to accurately measure length, width and depth of the defect. This allowed us to be more accurate when harvesting the bone graft.”
Once the replica of Heth’s shoulder was complete, surgeons performed a mock surgery on it. It was a bit of a practice round, allowing surgeons to perform the surgery without risking potentially messing up Heth’s real shoulder.
The mock surgery went well, and the subsequent real surgery went just as well.
“The patient is doing well,” Petrie told us. “However, an additional CT will be required to determine if the bone graft is healing. This will be done at 3 months – 4 months following the initial procedure. Depending on the results of the CT the next operation will be performed.”
Dr. Petrie is now planning to use 3D printing in future surgeries that pose similar challenges as well. This is yet another example of how 3D printing has helped make a previously difficult surgery quite a bit more simple. Allowing surgeons to practice on an identical replica of a patient’s bone, means less surprises and mistakes when the real surgery takes place. This will undoubtedly become more commonplace in hospitals around the world, as 3D printing becomes one of the go to technologies used by surgeons.
What do you think? Would you feel more comfortable allowing doctors to practice on a 3D printed replica of part of you body? Discuss in the 3D Printed shoulder surgery forum thread on 3DPB.com. Be sure to check out the video below where Dr. Petrie explains in detail the entire process.
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