3D printed models can cut downstream costs for health systems

Three-dimensional (3D) printed anatomic models, often derived from medical images, can be used during patients’ operative care to save health systems substantial downstream costs, according to a new analysis published in Academic Radiology.

Interest in 3D printing has been on the rise. This past July, four category III current procedural terminology (CPT) codes went into effect for 3D printed anatomic models and guides. The move was spearheaded by the ACR and RSNA.

While interest is growing, David H. Ballard, MD, of the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in St. Louis and colleagues wrote in the study that hospitals have long adopted 3D printed models due to their potential “pay for itself” impact.

“These ‘payments’ include superior confidence of the surgeon or proceduralist, the ability to perform complex procedures that were poorly understood anatomically with 3D visualization (the collective term for viewing a 3D volume in any format on a 2D screen), and financial savings secondary to shorter, more efficient procedures,” the authors added.

The researchers reviewed literature that included operating room cost-per minute and quantified time saved using 3D printed constructs in orthopedic and maxillofacial surgery. A mean of $64 per operating room minute was used as reference standard. Ballard et al. took cost-per-minute of operating room time numbers and mean time saved using 3D models from the studies to create various financial scenarios.

Overall, seven studies that used 3D printed models in surgical care showed a mean of 62 minutes ($3720/case saved from reduced time) of time saved, and 25 studies of 3D printed surgical guides revealed a mean of 23 minutes ($1488/case saved from reduced time) saved.

By Matt O’Connor | HealthImaging

Image Credit: Matt O’Connor / HealthImaging


About Peter Coffaro 477 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 25 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. Recognized by the World Journal of Orthopedics, Exponential Healthtech, and MedReps.com as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager, Distributor, and Vice President. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy, and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing, and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Illinois University.

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