Author(s): Erickson DM, Chance D, Schmitt S, Mathis J
PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to determine the possible benefits from 3-dimensional epoxy stereolithographic (SL) models produced from computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Surgeon's opinions about the use of SL models for diagnosis, treatment planning, practicing surgery preoperatively, within the operating room during surgical procedures, and for the construction of custom titanium implants or surgical devices were tabulated, using a 2-page survey. RESULTS: Most of the surgeons found SL models useful in all phases of planning and implementation of surgical procedures. Sixty-five percent found that exposure to the SL model changed the way in which they approached the patient's surgery. They also determined that there was a median timesavings of 20% in expended operating room and anesthesia time. Sixty-two percent of surgeons believed the models were important for proper diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: Most surgeons using 3-dimensional epoxy SL models for surgical procedures found them beneficial for diagnosis, treatment planning, as a reference during surgery, and in the fabrication of custom implants and surgical devices that afforded surgical solutions previously not available. Patients were believed to have received better care, because the surgeons had more knowledge of their unique anatomy before surgery. Through the use of these models, the patients experienced shorter surgical procedures, with more predictable results.