Conceptual evolution of 3D printing in orthopedic surgery and traumatology: from “do it yourself” to “point of care manufacturing”


Background: 3D printing technology in hospitals facilitates production models such as point-of-care manufacturing. Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology is the specialty that can most benefit from the advantages of these tools. The purpose of this study is to present the results of the integration of 3D printing technology in a Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology and to identify the productive model of the point-of-care manufacturing as a paradigm of personalized medicine.

Methods: Observational, descriptive, retrospective and monocentric study of a total of 623 additive manufacturing processes carried out in a Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology from November 2015 to March 2020. Variables such as product type, utility, time or materials for manufacture were analyzed.

Results: The areas of expertise that have performed more processes are Traumatology, Reconstructive and Orthopedic Oncology. Pre-operative planning is their primary use. Working and 3D printing hours, as well as the amount of 3D printing material used, vary according to the type of product or material delivered to perform the process. The most commonly used 3D printing material for manufacturing is polylactic acid, although biocompatible resin has been used to produce surgical guides. In addition, the hospital has worked on the codesign of customized implants with manufacturing companies.

Conclusions: The integration of 3D printing in a Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology allows identifying the conceptual evolution from “Do-It-Yourself” to “POC manufacturing”.

Keywords: 3D printing, Manufacturing university hospital, POC manufacturing, Preoperative planning, Biomodels, Surgical guides, Custom implants

Calvo-Haro et al. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders (2021) 22:360

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