In addition to the medical applications of 3-D technology, surgeons are able to plan and perform complicated reconstructive operations through the use of printed surgical guides and jigs designed from 3-D CT scans of the patient. These guides assist surgeons in preoperative planning as well as during actual surgical operations.

Oren Tepper, MD, of Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Children’s Hospital at Montefiore began to use 3-D technology to create surgical guides, templates and jigs to accurately place bones during lower jaw reconstructive surgery. The process has led to 3-D printed tools being used in facial trauma surgery from the virtual planning process and printing of surgical jigs and templates, to the use of these same tools to hold pieces in place during the actual surgery. This process is particularly beneficial to surgeons performing complicated reconstructive surgeries where there are no landmarks.

From the preoperative planning process to actually performing reconstructive surgery in the operating room, the use of 3-D technology is an exciting advancement.