Ever imagined 3D printing and medical field coming together? Sure, it does sounds like apples and oranges but believe it or not, 2014 saw the mixing of these two fields for the betterment of humankind. A lot of inspirational stories emerged in the past year in the medical field due to 3D printing and this happened not only in abroad but also in India. More and more medical professionals have now started recognizing the potential that 3D printing holds in making surgeries easy and saving human lives.
One such Indian doctor who recently recognized the potential and got benefited from the mixing of the two fields is Nagpur based Dr. Vaibhav Bagaria. The doctor made use of the 3D printing technology on a 16 year old boy, who was in extremely bad shape due to a very serious motor vehicle accident. The boy suffered a fracture of his acetabulum and a pelvic fracture with disruption of his pelvic ring in the accident. Dr. Vaibhav zeroed down on using 3D printing for the surgery so as to reduce surgery risks and save money and medication for his sixteen year old patient.
A typical surgery on a patient’s acetabulum requires a lot of precision and knowledge as the surgery is considered very challenging and risky. The patient always runs the risks of losing a significant amount of blood in this kind of a surgery.
Dr. Bagaria incorporated 3D printing into the surgery by creating a “3D patient optimized surgical tool” or a 3D post. He started out by taking a CT scan of the fracture and the surrounding area and then 3D printed a 1:1 scale model of the injury. This model of the injury allowed the Nagpur based doctor and his team of doctors get prepared for the real surgery. Dr. Bagaria further used the 3D model to create a seven-hole reconstruction plate that was pre-contoured. The model was also used by the doctor to carry out a surgical stimulation before carrying out the real surgery. The 3D printed model allowed the surgeons to drill the screw trajectories, measure the screw lengths required and confirm the positions of the plate. The 3D model was sterilized and used for intraoperative referencing during the real procedure.
At the end, the surgery was successful and a major chunk of its success goes to the 3D printed model of the injury. The model allowed the surgeons to reduce the surgery time, cost and the anaesthetics required for the sixteen year old. The doctor and his team of surgeons were successful in achieving a near-perfect fracture reduction and the 3D printed model was then used as an educational tool for the surgical residents.