Rapid Prototyping Technology for Surgeries of the Pediatric Spine and Pelvis: Benefits Analysis

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Background: The benefits provided by rapid prototyping (RP) of patient anomalies in complex surgeries of the pediatric spine and pelvis were elucidated and characterized.

Methods: Surgeons involved in the study were solicited from the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and the network of Shriners Hospitals for Children throughout the United States. Rapid prototyping models were created at Boise State University through a federally funded Economic Development Agency grant (Economic Development Agency Project Number 07-79-05312). Rapid prototyping models and detailed survey forms were supplied to lead surgeons for 13 cases of multiplane spinal or pelvic deformity.

Results: Results indicated that surgeons found RP models useful for preoperative planning, reference during surgery, communication with patients, and for increasing the safety of the procedure. Rapid prototyping models also led to a reduction in operating time in 4 of the 5 surgeries to correct congenital scoliosis/kyphosis.

Conclusions: Surgeons can expect properly constructed RP models to provide significant benefits for complex surgeries of the pediatric spine and pelvis in the areas of preoperative planning, intrasurgical navigation, and communication with patients. A reduction in operating time may also be expected for cases of congenital scoliosis/kyphosis.

Clinical Relevance: This study was a type II prospective observational study of physicians' perceptions of the use of RP models to assist with surgical cases. Results provided by this study suggest expected benefits from application of RP in surgeries of the pediatric spine and pelvis with complex deformities.