Korea University Guro Hospital (KUGH) and Korea National University of Transportation 3D Printing Chungbuk Center plan to help fractured patients by applying 3D printing technology.
The program, supported by the Ministry of Science and ICT, calls for providing patient-customized surgery using 3D technology for people who have complications after fracture surgery, the hospital said.
Patients who had complications after fracture surgery have had a hard time using existing metal plates, as it did not perfectly match their injury. Such problems led the surgeons to bend the metal plate by hand during operations, which increased operation time and resulted in re-operation in some cases.
By using the 3D printer technology, however, doctors can print the patient's bone to the actual shape and size using the polymer material based on individual CT and MRI image data. The new process allows doctors to prepare the metal plate in advance by forming a contour according to the bone shape of the patient before surgery.
Such a process enables a minimally invasive operation with significantly reduced operation time while reducing the amount of blood loss and the radiation dose during surgery.
“The deformation of the bone often leads to complications in fracture surgery patients due to repeated surgery and the fracture site (nonunion and malunion),” said Professor Oh Jong-gun of the department of orthopedics at KUGH. “This makes operation very difficult as the conventional anatomical plate does not fit the complication.”
However, the team has found 3D printing technology can provide a breakthrough solution for the treatment for such fracture complications, Oh added.