Headquartered in Belgium, Materialise allows specialists around the world to innovate, due to their strides in 3D software and 3D printing. The Materialise team does not just provide the software and hardware though. Their team is often behind the engineering of 3D printed models meant not just to impress, but often to change lives. The products and the ideas emanating from Materialise have offered tremendous impact in the medical industry, and we’ve been lucky enough to follow the progress they offer around the world from clinical trials to children’s heart surgeries, and far more.
Now, Materialise has participated in a study with the orthopedic departments of the University Children’s Hospital Basel (UKBB), Switzerland and the Righospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark. The results have yielded new techniques for reconstructing periacetabular defects that are caused by tumors. The research study was published recently in Leading Opinions, and also led to 3D printed hip implants for a handful of patients suffering from bone cancer.
The team realized that a patient-specific solution was needed for those suffering with pelvic bone tumors—one third of which are usually found to be malignant. And although replacements for knees, hips, and more have progressed enormously in recent years, the researchers realized that with 3D software and 3D printing, they could do much more with the ability to make implants specific to each patient’s body.
After three years, the researchers were able to reconstruct the hip areas of five patients, using Materialise aMace technology. Initially, technicians performed CT and MRI scans. For two patients, they were able to locate and remove the pelvic tumors using 3D printed surgical guides created from the scans. After that, the researchers again used CT scans to make patient-specific, 3D printed plates. The remaining patients were able to receive implants with only one surgery. In their cases, aMace implantations were performed, aided by 3D printed cutting guides.
While 3D software and 3D printing are useful in countless ways, the improvements they offer for surgeons are substantial. With surgical guides, surgeons can study the models before surgery happens. They can also use the guides to explain to patients and their families how tumors were diagnosed, where they are, and how they will be removed. Medical students are able to learn from the guides, and numerous models can be taken right into surgery so that the medical team can refer to them while operating.
“With the use of pre-operative planning, patient-specific guides and implants, Dr. Krieg and his colleagues saw superior results in terms of fit, fixation and patient mobility compared to the current pelvic reconstruction methods,” states the Materialise team in a recent blog. “They also observed reduced infection risks by switching from a two-step to a one-time surgery, due to shorter operation times and faster healing of the wound thanks to using patient specific cutting guides from Materialise. Furthermore, the team reported shorter hospital stays and significantly lower costs for the last three patients.”