3D printing-assisted preoperative plan of pedicle screw placement for middle-upper thoracic trauma: a cohort study

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BACKGROUND: This study aimed to evaluate the application of 3D printing in assisting preoperative plan of pedicle screw placement for treating middle-upper thoracic trauma. METHODS: A preoperative plan was implemented in seven patients suffering from middle-upper thoracic (T3-T7) trauma between March 2013 and February 2016. In the 3D printing models, entry points of 56 pedicle screws (Magerl method) and 4 important parameters of the pedicle screws were measured, including optimal diameter (ϕ, mm), length (L, mm), inclined angle (α), head-tilting angle (+β), and tail-tilting angle (-β). In the surgery, bare-hands fixation of pedicle screws was performed using 3D printing models and the measured parameters as guidance. RESULTS: A total of seven patients were enrolled, including five men and two women, with the age of 21-62 years (mean age of 37.7 years). The position of the pedicle screw was evaluated postoperatively using a computerized tomography scan. Totally, 56 pedicle screws were placed, including 33 pieces of level 0, 18 pieces of level 1, 4 pieces of level 2 (pierced lateral wall), and 1 piece of level 3 (pierced lateral wall, no adverse consequences), with a fine rate of 91.0%. CONCLUSIONS: 3D printing technique is an intuitive and effective assistive technology to pedicle screw fixation for treating middle-upper thoracic vertebrae, which improve the accuracy of bare-hands screw placement and reduce empirical errors. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Fujian Provincial Hospital. It was registered on March 1st, 2013, and the registration number was K2013-03-001.




Xu, W., Zhang, X., Ke, T., Cai, H., & Gao, X. (2017). 3D printing-assisted preoperative plan of pedicle screw placement for middle-upper thoracic trauma: a cohort study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 18(1), 348. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-017-1703-1

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