Use of 3-Dimensional Printing Technology in Complex Spine Surgeries

Ran Lador, Gilad Regev, Khalil Salame, Morsi Khashan, Zvi Lidar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Medical implications of 3-dimensional (3D) printing technology have evolved and are increasingly used. Surgical spine oncology involves at times complex resection using various surgical approaches and unique spinal reconstruction. As high general complication rates, including hardware failure, are reported, careful preoperative planning and optimized fixation techniques should be performed. 3D printing technology allows the improvement of preoperative planning, practice and exploration of various surgical approaches, and designing customized surgical tools and patient specific implants. Objective: To investigate the use of 3D printing technology in complex spine surgeries. Methods: Between 2015 and 2018, all complex spine oncological cases were evaluated and assessed for the possible benefit of use of 3D printing technology. Following high-quality imaging, a computerized integrated 3D model was created. Based on the planned procedure considering the various surgical steps, a customized 3D model was planned and printed, and in select cases a 3D custom-made implant was designed and printed in various sizes with matching trials. Results: A total of 7 cases were selected for the use of a 3D printing technology. For all, a custom-made model was created. In 3 of these cases, a customized 3D-printed implant was used. Special customized intraoperative instruments were made for 2 cases, and a simulated surgical approach was performed in 5 cases. In 2 cases, pre-bent rods were made based on the model created and were used in surgery later on. Conclusions: For complex spine oncology cases, the use of 3D printing allowed better preoperative planning, simplified the operative procedure, and enabled improved reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e327-e341
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D printing
  • Custom-made implants
  • Custom-made tools
  • En bloc resection
  • Medical simulation
  • Preoperative models
  • Spine tumor


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