We see 3D printed medical models so frequently these days, it can be easy to accept their existence without questioning them.
But have you ever wondered just how useful such models can be—in numerical terms? While it makes total sense that a 3D printed model could improve a surgeon’s performance by allowing him or her to practice, sometimes it’s hard to gauge just how much improvement there really is.
That’s what makes a recent study at the University of California San Diego and San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital so important.
In the study, 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.
By Benedict | 3ders.org
Image Credit: Dr. Vidyadhar Upasani/UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital