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.
Image Credit: Matt O’Connor / HealthImaging