November 12, 2019 --
"Reconstruction of the skeletal defect after resection of bone tumors is challenging," Dr. Guk Bae Kim from Asan Medical Center told AuntMinnie.com. "Prosthetic reconstruction is one of the most commonly used methods. However, preexisting modular prosthesis systems cannot fully accommodate the patient's specific defect and functional requirements."
To improve upon the current method for bone reconstruction, Kim and colleagues developed a new technique using 3D printing technology. The technique involved acquiring MRI and CT scans, processing the imaging data, and then 3D printing an individually tailored metal implant onto a generic modular prosthesis.
The researchers tested their method for three bone tumor patients who underwent resection between October 2018 and March 2019 at their institution. They found that the 3D-printed metal implants allowed them to reconstruct the patients' distinct skeletal defects successfully, such that the patients retained most of their normal range of motion despite having undergone surgery.
"3D printing technology can be useful to reconstruct patient-specific bone defects where functional reconstruction is not feasible with conventional methods," Kim said. "Future studies to identify the optimum method of hybrid combination will be necessary."