Comparison of traditional surgery and surgery assisted by
three dimensional printing technology in the treatment of tibial
Received: 9 December 2016 /Accepted: 10 March 2017 /Published online: 10 April 2017
SICOT aisbl 2017
Purpose This study was conducted to compare traditional sur-
gery and surgery assisted by 3D printing technology in the
treatment of tibial plateau fractures. In addition, we also in-
vestigated the effect of 3D printing technology on the com-
munication between doctors and patients.
Methods Seventy two patients with tibial plateau fractures
were enrolled in the study from April 2014 to October 2015.
They were divided into two groups: 34 cases of 3D model
group, 38 cases of traditional surgery group. The individual
models were used to simulate the surgical procedures and
carry out the surgery according to plan. Operation time, blood
loss, and number of intra-operative fluoroscopy were record-
ed. Through the follow-up, the recovery of patients were ob-
served. Besides, we designed questionnaires to verify the sat-
isfaction for both surgeons and patients.
Results The average operation time, average amount of blood
loss, and number of intra-operative fluoroscopy for 3D model
group was 85.2±0.9 minutes, 186.3± 5.5ml, 5.3± 0.2 times,
and for traditional surgery group was 99.2±1.0 minutes, 216.2
±6.9 ml,7.1 ± 0.2 times respectively. There was statistically
significant difference between the traditional surgery group
and 3D model group (P < 0.05). Via follow-up, we can see
that the 3D printing group has a better clinical efficacy. The
average score of the questionnaires to Patient and doctors
were 7.3 ± 0.1 points and 8.5± 0.1 points respectively.
Conclusion This study suggested the clinical feasibility of 3D
printing technology in treatment of tibial plateau fractures.
Keywords 3D printing
Tibial plateau fracture
Tibial plateau fractures are common intra-articular frac-
tures . The fixation of these fractures not only requires
functional restoration, but also anatomic reduction of the
articular surface. However, the surrounding tissue struc-
ture and anatomical structure are complex, it is easy to
misinterpret the radiological image and make a diagnostic
error. Therefore, many complications may easily arise af-
ter the treatment of tibial plateau fractures [2–6]. Improper
handling is prone to knee instability and the joint perfor-
mance, which is difficult to treat.
In order to maintain normal function of the knee joint and
reduce the incidence of complications, a new technologically
advanced treatment method of this fracture is necessary.
Accurate and individualized surgery is becoming more and
more essential in fracture fixations. 3D printing is the embodi-
ment of digital technology and it is a compatible method
The main aim of our study was to use 3D printing technol-
ogy for pre-operative planning and to simulate a practice run
in the tibial plateau fractures. This study was performed to
compare the traditional surgery with surgery assisted by 3D
printing technology in the treatment of tibial plateau fractures.
* Xiaoshan Guo
* Jianshun Wang
Department of Orthopaedics, The Second Affiliated Hospital and
Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, 109
Xue Yuan Xi Road, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325000, China
International Orthopaedics (SICOT) (2017) 41:1875–1880