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    Orbital surgery aided by 3-D printing

    Computerized preoperative planning, intraoperative models can increase precision of fracture repair


    The 3-D printing company sends the guides to its representative, who delivers them to the hospital. Intraoperatively, Dr. Langer lays the guides over the fracture to align the segments and screws the guide in place to temporarily hold the fracture segments in place. Then he screws a metal plate over the fracture and removes the guide.

    “Otherwise, while you’re putting screws and plates on the bone fragments, you may move them and not get the contour or curvature you want,” Dr. Langer said.

    Related: Surgeons face choices in pediatric orbital cellulitis

    The 3-D printers can also produce acrylic facial skeletons, which are sterilized and used intraoperatively to guide fracture reduction, for example, by helping shape a metal plate.

    “I can shape an implant exactly to the contour I want, then pull it off the printed skull and put it in the patient,” Dr. Langer said.

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