European Spine Journal

, Volume 27, Supplement 3, pp 323–329 | Cite as

Design of mulitlevel OLF approach (“V”-shaped decompressive laminoplasty) based on 3D printing technology

  • Qinjie Ling
  • Erxing He
  • Hanbin Ouyang
  • Jing Guo
  • Zhixun Yin
  • Wenhua HuangEmail author
Case Report



To introduce a new surgical approach to the multilevel ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF) aided by three-dimensional (3D) printing technology.


A multilevel OLF patient (male, 66 years) was scanned using computed tomography (CT). His saved DICOM format data were inputted to the Mimics14.0 3D reconstruction software (Materialise, Belgium). The resulting 3D model was used to observe the anatomical features of the multilevel OLF area and to design the surgical approach. At the base of the spinous process, two channels were created using an osteotomy bilaterally to create a “V” shape to remove the bone ligamentous complex (BLC). The decompressive laminoplasty using mini-plate fixation was simulated with the computer. The physical model was manufactured using 3D printing technology. The patient was subsequently treated using the designed surgery.


The operation was completed successfully without any complications. The operative time was 90 min, and blood loss was 200 ml. One month after the operation, neurologic function was recovered well, and the JOA score was improved from 6 preoperatively to 10. Postoperative CT scanning showed that the OLF was totally removed, and the replanted BLC had not subsided.


3D printing technology is an effective, reliable, and minimally invasive method to design operations. The technique can be an option for multilevel OLF surgical treatment. This can provide sufficient decompression with minimum damage to the spine and other intact anatomical structures.


3D printing Ossification of the ligamentum flavum Decompressive laminoplasty 



We would like to thank Mr Liao for the computer software support (Guangzhou You Dao Computer Technology Co., Ltd) and all the operating room staff. This work was supported by the Science and Technology Project of Guangdong Province (2014B090901055, 2015B010125005, and 2016B090917001), the south wisdom valley innovation team plan (2015CXTD05), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (61427807).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest statement

None of the authors has any potential conflict of interest.


The Science and Technology Project of Guangdong Province (2014B090901055, 2015B010125005, and 2016B090917001). South wisdom valley innovation team plan (2015CXTD05). National Natural Science Foundation of China (61427807).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qinjie Ling
    • 1
  • Erxing He
    • 2
  • Hanbin Ouyang
    • 1
  • Jing Guo
    • 2
  • Zhixun Yin
    • 2
  • Wenhua Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Clinical Anatomy, School of Basic Medical SciencesSouthern Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Spinal Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina

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