3D printing helps tackle post operative pain

The clavicle or collarbone is a long bone that serves as a strut between the shoulder blade and the breastbone. There are two clavicles, one on the left and one on the right.

Having suffered a break in the right clavicle the patient underwent surgery to insert a titanium plate to join the two pieces back together. The patient contacted Ignitec after suffering with post operative pain in order to understand the cause of the pain and help clinicians treat the problem with further surgery.

From the CT scan DICOM files provided by the clinician it was possible to reconstruct an accurate 3D model of the clavicle and the metal plate joining the two pieces. From this it was possible to 3D print models of both the broken right clavicle and the normal left clavicle for the clinicians to compare. The ability to take the images off the screen and put physical models into the hands of surgeons is a powerful tool to help diagnose and treat with subsequent surgery. It was clear to see from the models that the screws joining the metal plate to the bone were protruding through the bone into the tissue.

” It was clear to see from the models that the screws joining the metal plate to the bone were protruding through the bone into the tissue.”

The patient then underwent further surgery to correct the problem. A second set of DICOM files were provided and another set of 3D printed models allowed the clinicians to asses whether the problem had been resolved.

It can be seen from the model created from after the second procedure that the screws are no longer protruding.

Interactive 3D model showing clavicle after second operation

3D printed models, before second surgery left, after second surgery right

Before second surgery, protruding screws clearly visible

After second surgery screws no longer protruding

Project Phases

Medical 3D printing