As 3D printing continues to become more widely used in clinical domains, questions about the clinical impact and economic value are coming to the fore.
Stratasys therefore commissioned Quorum Consulting, a leading pharmacoeconomic consulting firm, to research, document and analyze the clinical and economic benefits of 3D printing patient-specific models for surgical planning. This work, summarized in a new white paper, includes a review of 80+ published medical articles on the use of 3D models in surgical planning as well as analysis of economic data in the form of reimbursement claims.White paper exploring #3Dprinting’s clinical & economic benefits for surgical planning now available from @stratasys Click To Tweet
Surgical planning encompasses the full scope of options for envisioning techniques and anatomies involved in a surgical intervention. Traditionally, procedural planning was mainly performed using two-dimensional models, often based on computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data, with later advances allowing for three-dimensional renderings. 3D printing, however, can create highly-detailed, patient-specific models that can display complex articulation, enabling clinicians “to conduct thorough preoperative preparation, manipulate accurate relational representations of case anatomies, and identify unusual physiologies and comorbidities whose early discovery can improve surgical efficiency and effectiveness.”
The review of the literature found three key applications for the use of 3D printed patient anatomy:
- PLAN – most clinicians reported printed models promoted increased familiarity and facility with unique anatomies and may contribute to reducing operating time costs due to unexpected surgical complexity.
- PRACTICE – use of models presents an opportunity for clinicians to refine surgical techniques and supplementary procedures with precision and realism surpassing that of using animal models or cadavers.
- DETERMINE – in several complex, high risk procedures, access to accurate 3D models was noted as valuable for determining the appropriate intervention strategy or determine whether a patient was an appropriate candidate for the chosen procedure.
The paper includes a summary of the clinical experience and quantifiable evidence in key procedures where 3D printing has realized higher adoption including cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, and reconstructive surgery
Stratasys and Quorum developed a framework for evaluating the potential economic benefit of decreasing operating time, reducing adverse events, and reducing length of stay through better surgical planning. Using data from Center for Medicare Services, 2015 American Medical Association Current Procedural Terminology Survey and other sources, the team analyzed the procedures cited in the clinical literature using that framework.
Overall, the findings of the research are encouraging with the evidence pointing to significant promise for 3D printing to improve key metrics like operating time, blood loss, and recovery time. While the research presents one of the most comprehensive analyses to date on the clinical and economic benefits of 3D printing in surgical planning, it also revealed an opportunity for organizations to conduct additional, more rigorous research to provide additional proof points on how best to use this technology to improve patient care while also reducing the cost within the healthcare ecosystem. Stratasys will continue to be a part of that process and drive the conversation.