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Dr. Nicola Bizzotto Publishes Study Detailing Benefits of 3D Printing in Wrist Surgery

by • May 8, 2016 • No Comments

Figure1Promoter of the Italian Digital Biomanufacturing Network (IDBN), Dr. Nicola Bizzotto Orthopedic and Trauma Surgeon – Hand Surgeon of the Dolomiti Sportclinic in Ortisei-Bolzano, Sud Tirol,Italy, has been a initially adopter of 3D printing in pre-surgical preparation and a sturdy supporter of its benefits. Most not long ago with a group of Italian surgeons and a Swiss colleague (Dr. Ivan Tami, “Centro Manoegomito”, Clinica Ars Medica, Lugano), Dr. Bizzotto had a study published on the Injury scientific journal detailing the advantages in the use of 3D printed specifically in distal radius (wrist) fractures.

Working for an orthopedic and trauma clinic that treats several pro winter sports athletes, Dr. Bizzotto has created up worthwhile experience in treating wrist related injuries. He had a key role in the clinic’s decision to become the initially of its kind to adopt 3D printing in addition to digital tomography data to physically reproduce the injuries of wrist and hand.

The Three Key Advantage of Medical 3D Printing

One of the distal radius fractures 3D printed by Dr. Bizzotto's team.

One of the distal radius fractures 3D printed by Dr. Bizzotto’s team.

“The advantages in the use of 3D printing immediately became clear in three main aspects of patient treatment,” said Dr. Bizzotto. “The physical 3D version is utilized primarily for studying and preparing the surgical intervention as well as to identify the perfect surgical plate. This translates into an immediate reduction of operating times and costs. One extra
benefit is the use of the 3D printed version in patient-doctor communication.”

The study published in Injury Journal analyzed the cases of 40 patients who enrolled in the participating clinics between November 2014 and June 2015 to be treated for a distal radius fracture. The fractured bone, 3D printed with a Stratasys 3D printing device, was evaluated by the surgeons and utilized for pre-operative planning.

This means that the doctors utilized it to find the precise perfect location and orientation for the plate’s screws and in addition for illustrating the surgical procedure to the patient. The plate was supplied by Medartis, a Swiss company based in Basel, that creates medical solutions for hand surgery and co-financed this study.

More Preparation Means Shorter Recoveries

The metal plates are initially tested on the 3D printed bone replicas to ensure an perfect fit.

The metal plates are initially tested on the 3D printed bone replicas to ensure an perfect fit.

“Operating room times were reduced by an average of several minutes per intervention, that alone is sufficient to justify the costs of via 3D printing,” Dr. Bizzotto explained. “However the main advantages become clear when a thing does not go as foreseen. Being able-bodied to immediately test the precise positioning of the plate enable-bodiedd us to manufacture changes immediately and with no extra
discomfort for the patient, who, otherwise, can have had to withstand a longer operation or actually a new incision.”

This precision is of important importance in wrist surgery since a failure in properly restoring the bony alignment may cause function to stay poor actually after healing. The study in addition reveled that patients reported an enthusiastic general appreciation of the use of 3D printed versions, that resulted in a significant improvement in comprehension of the fracture and additional confidence in the surgeons abilities.

In 2016 Dr. Bizzotto and AITASIT (the Italian Association of Radiological Technicians) can hold an official “Advanced University Course on 3D Printed Replica of Orthopedic Conditions and Fractures”, in cooperation with big actors like Materialise, 3DZ and Stratasys for Doctors, Medical Students and Radiologist Technicians, to additional promote the use and adoption of 3D printing in a expanding range of pre-surgical applications.