Incorporating 3D Printing Into Your Practice: Lessons Learned.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing has greatly benefited medicine, manufacturing vital organs like skin, hearts, kidneys, and livers. Early studies on 3D printing in surgery have consistently reported decreased operative time and improved precision. This technology has gained popularity with orthopaedic surgeons in knee, hip, and shoulder surgeries because 3D printing is associated with enhancing osseointegration. However, this innovation is still not commonly used among foot and ankle surgeons; one reason is that whereas the literature on 3D printing-assisted surgery is populated with studies on operative techniques and clinical outcomes, there exists an ambiguity on how to incorporate this feature into the clinic. Thus, the aim of this technology column is to consolidate and standardize a workflow to guide foot and ankle surgeons on integrating 3D printing into one's practice. We describe a model developed by a single surgeon at one institution who directs a large caseload of 3D-printed foot and ankle surgeries. From the initial patient visit to the interaction between the surgeon and the implant engineering team, to documentation of data adding to the preliminary literature, this work has great implications on streamlining the assimilation of a highly successful technology to improve foot and ankle surgery for both surgeons and patients.Level of Evidence: Level V.
Sharma, A; Kirkland, KS; Holloway, RM; Parekh, SG
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