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    Orbital surgery aided by 3-D printing

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

     

    Dr. Langer corrected the defect in the right inferior orbital rim with a porous polyethylene implant. Postoperative CT showed excellent symmetry and alignment.

    The technology has also been used in surgery to aid in facial reconstruction after tumor removal, Dr. Langer said.

    Currently several companies are competing to provide this technology. One drawback to this approach is the time required to send the CT scans by mail to the company, planning by web conference and then shipping the 3-D models back to the hospital.

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    “If I see a patient today, I can’t operate tomorrow,” Dr. Langer said. “It’s usually 4 to 5 days.”

    As the technology becomes more widely available, more hospitals may buy their own 3-D printers, making this approach even more available, he said.

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