In a study conducted by the University of California San Diego and physicians from Rady Children’s Hospital , researchers created 3D printed models of patient hip joints, to allow surgeons to practice their procedure before doing the real thing. But they also used a control group, letting a few surgeons perform the procedure without a 3D printed aid to see exactly how much difference the 3D printed models were making. The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics.
In the study, Dr. Vidyadhar Upasani, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Rady Children’s and UC San Diego and the paper’s senior author, operated on 10 young patients with slipped capital femoral epiphysis, a common hip disorder that affects about 11 in 100,000 children in the United States every year.
Five of Upasani’s operations were assisted with 3D printed hip models; five were not. Two other surgeons also operated on different groups of five patients, without using 3D printed models. Excitingly, the results of the study showed 3D printing in a positive light. In the group where Upasani used 3D printed models, surgeries were 38-45 minutes shorter compared with the two control groups. And according to the study’s researchers, these time savings would translate into at least $2,700 in savings per surgery.
“Being able to practice on these 3D models is crucial,” Upasani concluded. “It’s now hard to plan surgeries without them.”
To make the 3D printed models, two UC San Diego students, Jason Caffrey and Lillia Cherkasskiy, teamed up with Upasani, bioengineering professor Robert Sah, and their colleagues. They took CT scans of each patient’s pelvis, and used this data to make a computerized model of the bone and growth plate for 3D printing.
When completed, the 3D printed models allowed Upasani to visualize in 3D how the growth plate of each patient was deformed. Although this study only focused on one kind of procedure, the speed improvement of 25 percent will be music to the ears of medical 3D printing specialists, and may encourage more hospitals to adopt additive technology.
Benedict. “San Diego Researchers Cut Operation Times by 25% with 3D Printed Hip Models.”3ders.Org, 3 Aug. 2017, www.3ders.org/articles/20170803-san-diego-researchers-cut-operation-times-by-25-with-3d-printed-hip-models.html.