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Three-dimensional printing and patient-specific pre-contoured plate: future of acetabulum fracture fixation?

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European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery Aims and scope Submit manuscript



Due to the complexity of acetabulum, achieving anatomical contouring intra-operatively is difficult for surgeon. A 3D (dimensional) real model can facilitate us both in contouring the plate pre-operatively and in better pre-operative planning. Patient-specific pre-contoured plate in acetabular fracture has been studied by few researchers but randomized case–control study was lacking. Hence, we conducted a case–control study to evaluate the accuracy of patient-specific pre-contoured plate.

Materials and methods

Prospective randomized case control study was conducted. 21 patients were included. 10 patients were distributed in “case” group and remaining 11 in “control” group. Inclusion criteria: Displaced acetabulum fractures with displacement of ≥3 mm in adults who reported within 3 weeks of injury. Exclusion criteria were: Open fractures, associated Morel-Lavallée lesion and patients with >3 weeks old fracture. In case group, patient-specific real 3D model of fractured acetabulum was generated using rapid prototyping technology and plates were contoured pre-operatively. Control group was treated using intra-operative contoured plates. Both the groups were compared using parameters: Blood loss, Surgery time, post-operative reduction on X-ray, post-surgical residual displacement and reduction achieved as evaluated by CT scan.


Reduced blood loss (100 ml less in case group) and surgical time (12 min less in case group) and better post-operative reduction were observed in case than control. In control group, 4 patients even had step of 2–3 mm, which was not seen in case group. All the pre-contoured plates fitted well to the pelvis intra-operatively. Reduction achieved as evaluated by CT was more in “case” group with statistically significant outcomes (p < 0.05).


Patient-specific pre-contoured plate made using 3D model is a better implant than intra-operatively contoured plate. Real-time 3D pelvis model is an accurate technique for pre-operative planning in acetabular fractures.

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Correspondence to A. Sharma.

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Dr. Lalit Maini, Dr. Amit Sharma, Dr. Sunil Jha, Dr. Ankur Sharma, Dr. Anurag Tiwari declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Maini, L., Sharma, A., Jha, S. et al. Three-dimensional printing and patient-specific pre-contoured plate: future of acetabulum fracture fixation?. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg 44, 215–224 (2018).

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