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Conventional plate fixation method versus pre-operative virtual simulation and three-dimensional printing-assisted contoured plate fixation method in the treatment of anterior pelvic ring fracture

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Treating pelvic fractures remains a challenging task for orthopaedic surgeons. We aimed to evaluate the feasibility, accuracy, and effectiveness of three-dimensional (3D) printing technology and computer-assisted virtual surgery for pre-operative planning in anterior ring fractures of the pelvis. We hypothesized that using 3D printing models would reduce operation time and significantly improve the surgical outcomes of pelvic fracture repair.


We retrospectively reviewed the records of 30 patients with pelvic fractures treated by anterior pelvic fixation with locking plates (14 patients, conventional locking plate fixation; 16 patients, pre-operative virtual simulation with 3D, printing-assisted, pre-contoured, locking plate fixation). We compared operative time, instrumentation time, blood loss, and post-surgical residual displacements, as evaluated on X-ray films, among groups. Statistical analyses evaluated significant differences between the groups for each of these variables.


The patients treated with the virtual simulation and 3D printing-assisted technique had significantly shorter internal fixation times, shorter surgery duration, and less blood loss (− 57 minutes, − 70 minutes, and − 274 ml, respectively; P < 0.05) than patients in the conventional surgery group. However, the post-operative radiological result was similar between groups (P > 0.05). The complication rate was less in the 3D printing group (1/16 patients) than in the conventional surgery group (3/14 patients).


The 3D simulation and printing technique is an effective and reliable method for treating anterior pelvic ring fractures. With precise pre-operative planning and accurate execution of the procedures, this time-saving approach can provide a more personalized treatment plan, allowing for a safer orthopaedic surgery.

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Correspondence to Tsu-Te Yeh.

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The study was approved by the National Defense Medical Center Institutional Review Board. All procedures were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Hung, CC., Li, YT., Chou, YC. et al. Conventional plate fixation method versus pre-operative virtual simulation and three-dimensional printing-assisted contoured plate fixation method in the treatment of anterior pelvic ring fracture. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) 43, 425–431 (2019).

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