3D printing is stransforming maxillofacial surgeries: Here’s how

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3d printed human jaw 3D printing Stratasys

The in-house Stratasys 3D Printer enables the creation of exact replicas of the patient’s anatomy and allows customized fittings and pre-bending of plates [Image from Stratasys]

Customized, 3D models for pre-surgical preparations are transforming maxillofacial surgical procedures in the U.K. – thanks to Stratasys’ PolyJet 3D printing.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, U.K. is using Stratasys’ Objet Eden350V 3D Printer and has reported having an up to 93% reduction in surgical planning time that comes with standard anatomical models. They have also reported 3 to 4 hours in surgical time per surgery have been saved with a cost reduction of £20,000 ($26,004.80) per operation.

“The advances Queen Elizabeth Hospital is making in use of 3D printing in surgical planning are remarkable,” Scott Rader, general manager of Healthcare Solutions at Stratasys, said in a press release. “It is a clear demonstration of the ability for 3D printing to enable physicians to better plan, practice and determine the optimal surgical approach. In the current operating climate, physicians need solutions that can save time and money, while also improving quality of care. Queen Elizabeth’s implementation of 3D printing achieves these goals.”

Using an in-house 3D printer and help from Tri-Tech 3D, medical models for maxillofacial; burns and plastics; ear, nose and throat and neurosurgical models are revolutionizing pre-surgical procedures.

“The ability to produce lifelike medical models in-house on our Stratasys 3D Printer saves around 3 to 4 hours in OR time per surgery, which at a cost of £5,000 ($6499.50) an hour of operating room time, is quite a substantial cost saving,” said Steven Edmondson, consultant maxillofacial prosthetist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Trauma and cancer patients with facial or cranial tumors are benefiting from the in-house 3D printing the most.

Maxillofacial prosthetic teams convert patient CT scans into 3D printed replica models, bone replacement parts or metal prosthetic plates using Stratasys’ 3D printing. All 3 of the components can be customized to fit the exact specifications for each patient.

“If we need to remove bone from a patient’s face, we can produce an exact 3D printed model to develop the cutting guides,” Edmondson said. “This process results in more efficient clinical outcomes and saves the hospital, patient and medical practitioner valuable time and associated costs.”

Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing also gives surgeons the opportunity to practice surgical procedures on true-to-life 3D printed anatomical models which helps minimize risks in the operating room.

“When dealing with severe cases whereby surgical plates hold facial bones in place, we need absolute assurance that they fit the patients’ measurements exactly,” Edmondson said. “3D printing a replica of the patient’s anatomy allows us to pre-bend these plates in our laboratory. Having these capabilities at the hospital streamlines the entire operation and ensures we are 100% prepared when heading into surgery.”

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