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Printing in Time for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Trauma Surgery: Key Parameters to Factor in.

STUDY DESIGN: retrospective cohort study.

OBJECTIVE: 3D printing is used extensively in cranio-maxillo-facial (CMF) surgery, but difficulties remain for surgeons to implement it in an acute trauma setting because critical information is often omitted from reports. Therefore, we developed an in-house printing pipeline for a variety of cranio-maxillo-facial fractures and characterized each step required to print a model in time for surgery.

METHODS: All consecutive patients requiring in-house 3D printed models in a level 1 trauma center for acute trauma surgery between March and November 2019 were identified and analyzed.

RESULTS: Sixteen patients requiring the printing of 25 in-house models were identified. Virtual Surgical Planning time ranged from 0h 08min to 4h 41min (mean = 1h 46min). The overall printing phase per model (pre-processing, printing, and post-processing) ranged from 2h 54min to 27h 24min (mean = 9h 19min). The overall success rate of prints was 84%. Filament cost was between $0.20 and $5.00 per model (mean = $1.56).

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that in-house 3D printing can be done reliably in a relatively short period of time, therefore allowing 3D printing usage for acute facial fracture treatment. When compared to outsourcing, in-house printing shortens the process by avoiding shipping delays and by having a better control over the printing process. For time-critical prints, other time-consuming steps need to be considered, such as virtual planning, pre-processing of 3D files, post-processing of prints, and print failure rate.

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