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    Orbital surgery aided by 3-D printing

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


    Dr. Langer has also used 3-D printing to create implants. For example, he recently operated on a women who had been in a car accident years earlier. The original surgery to reassemble fragments of her skull left a divot in her forehead.

    “I imagined there were bone fragments missing, extruded through the laceration or whatever, and the defect was so long-standing it would be difficult to break those bones and reset them,” Dr. Langer said. “So we created an implant that would smooth out that defect into an arc rather than a divot.”

    He designed the implant by computer, then had it printed out of polyether ether ketone (PEEK) “which is strong and hard and biologically inert so you can implant it in patients and screw it in,” he said. “You can shape it with a drill or a saw.”

    After sterilizing the implant, Dr. Langer screwed it in place on the woman’s forehead.

    “She was very happy because she had had this defect for years and now her forehead was smooth,” he said.

    More: Simultaneous ocular myasthenia gravis and thyroid eye disease?


    Paul Langer, MD

    E: [email protected]

    This article was adapted from Dr. Langer’s presentation at the 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He did not indicate any proprietary interest in the subject matter.


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