The orthopaedic surgery team is dedicated to improving function in patients of all ages who have been injured, developed a problem such as arthritis, or who were born with a bone or joint problem. Although there are standard ways of treating some of these problems, our team can more precisely address many orthopaedic issues with the use of 3-D modeling and virtual surgical planning using 3-D printed, patient-specific surgical guides.
Why Virtual 3D Planning is Crucial to Orthopedic Surgery at Yale
"Orthopedic surgery is geared towards functionality and getting patients back to normal life," says Lisa Lattanza, MD, chair of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at Yale Medicine. Innovative technologies like Virtual 3D Surgical Planning are allowing orthopedic surgeons to provide care to patients who have been suffering from pain and dysfunction. By capturing images on the CT Scan and running it through a specialized software surgeons can plan their surgery without making a cut which makes the operation safer and more efficient. While this technology is a game-changer the surgeon still needs to rely on their skills and knowledge to effectively execute the plan. The technology can address specific types dislocations because X-rays only provide 2-dimensional images which don't paint the full picture. "With this 3D technology we're addressing for each individual patient what their deformity is and not just making an assumption," says Dr. Lattanza. The hope is this technology can be useful in repairing previous surgeries that didn't solve the patient's problem.
We have orthopaedic surgical specialists who are currently using 3-D technology to correct spinal deformity, post-traumatic mal-unions of long bones, congenital upper and lower limb deformities, complex joint replacement surgery (for hips, knees, shoulders, and elbows) and mal-alignment of joints and bones. We work closely with engineers, radiologists, and cutting-edge medical companies who assist in deploying this technology for our patients.
Patients that have complex orthopaedic problems are evaluated by our specialists. If the problem is amenable to treatment with custom 3-D surgical correction techniques, a specialized high-resolution CT or MRI scan is obtained focusing on just the injured side (if only bone models are needed) or of the injured and non-injured analogous body part if virtual surgical planning and intra-operative patient specific guides are necessary.
Using the data in the CT or MRI scan, a unique 3-D model is built on the computer using specialized image processing software. The 3-D models are then used to study the deformity/injury in detail prior to the actual surgery. The planning is completed with the surgeon and biomedical engineer working together to manipulate the images on a computer to plan the necessary cuts or bone excision to correct the deformity.
Surgeons are able to make certain that the bones are corrected and straight, joints can bend and extend, and muscles and nerves are properly positioned. Patient specific guides are then printed in 3-D for use in the operating room during surgery, so that the virtual model can be replicated in the surgery for precise correction of each patient’s problem.
These techniques have been shown to decrease surgical time and blood loss, as well as provide a more precise correction of the problem.