Low-Cost, Three-Dimensionally-Printed, Anatomical Models for Optimization of Orbital Wall Reconstruction

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2021 Jan 1;147(1):162-166. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000007495.


Background: Orbital blowout fracture reconstruction often requires an implant, which must be shaped at the time of surgical intervention. This process is time-consuming and requires multiple placement trials, possibly risking complications. Three-dimensional printing technology has enabled health care facilities to generate custom anatomical models to which implants can be molded to precisely match orbital anatomy. The authors present their early experience with these models and their use in optimizing orbital fracture fixation.

Methods: Maxillofacial computed tomographic scans from patients with orbital floor or wall fractures were prospectively obtained and digitally reconstructed. Both injured-side and mirrored unaffected-side models were produced in-house by stereolithography printing technique. Models were used as templates for molding titanium reconstruction plates, and plates were implanted to reconstruct the patients' orbital walls.

Results: Nine patients (mean age, 15.5 years) were included. Enophthalmos was present in seven patients preoperatively and resolved in six patients with surgery. All patients had excellent conformation of the implant to the fracture site on postoperative computed tomographic scan. Postoperative fracture-side orbital volumes were significantly less than preoperative, and not significantly different from unfractured-side orbital volumes. Total model preparation time was approximately 10 hours. Materials cost was at most $21. Plate bending time was approximately 60 seconds.

Conclusions: Patient-specific orbital models can speed the shaping of orbital reconstruction implants and potentially improve surgical correction of orbital fractures. Production of these models with consumer-grade technology confers the same advantages as commercial production at a fraction of the cost and time.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / economics
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Orbit / anatomy & histology
  • Orbit / diagnostic imaging
  • Orbit / injuries
  • Orbit / surgery
  • Orbital Fractures / surgery*
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional / economics*
  • Prosthesis Design / economics
  • Prosthesis Design / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / economics
  • Treatment Outcome