An overview of 3D printing and the orthopaedic application of patient-specific models in malunion surgery

Claire N. Thomas, Sophia Mavrommatis, Lisa K. Schroder, Peter A. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the emerging technology of three-dimensional (3D) printing impacts several facets of medicine, innovative techniques and applications are increasingly being incorporated into clinical workflows. Specifically, 3D printing technology has allowed for the individualization of patient care through the creation of printed surgical guides, patient-specific anatomical models, and simulation practice models. In this paper, we review the broad applications of 3D printing in orthopaedic surgery. The purpose of this paper is to help orthopaedic trauma surgeons understand 3D printing's emerging influence on the delivery of care as well as how to directly apply this technology to their practice. We aim to illustrate these principles through a specific example of a patient who presented for malunion surgery. A 3D printed model of a very complex traumatic scapula malunion was used to not only pre-surgically plan the reconstruction, but to also facilitate provider and patient education. This paper highlights the benefits of 3D printing and how trauma surgeons are uniquely positioned to apply this technology to improve patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-983
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Malunion
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Patient-specific 3D models
  • Pre-surgical planning
  • Three-dimensional printing
  • Trauma

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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