3D printing, buoyant for orthopaedics By Dr. Vikas Gupta

3D printing begins with the creation of a visual model of the item to be printed.

The IT revolution commenced with the advent of the World Wide Web developed at CERN, France. Since then, the world has seen a rapid transformation in technology.

Several technologies and products have become obsolete within our lifetimes, replaced by novel, proficient mechanics across the spectrum. And a recent technological development that has taken the medical world by storm is 3D printing.

3D printing is a type of manufacturing technique that belongs to the additive manufacturing family. This depicts the process of creating an object by adding material to it layer by layer.

3D printing begins with the creation of a visual model of the item to be printed. These are typically designed using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software packages, which can be the most labor-intensive element of the process.

One of the primary advantages of 3D printing is that it enables quick prototyping of almost anything. Your imagination is the only fundamental limitation to its application.

Some things are too complex to be made using typical manufacturing or prototype methods like as CNC milling or moulding.

It is also far less expensive than many other traditional manufacturing methods. Following the design, the model is digitally sliced in preparation for printing.

The slicing procedure divides the model into multiple levels. The design for each layer is then supplied to the printer head in order to be printed, or laid down.

The data is transferred to the printer for the final stage after the slicer programs has completed its work. The 3D printer takes over from here.

It will begin printing the model according to the slicer program’s specific instructions, utilising various ways depending on the type of printer utilised.

Thus, after providing a brief introduction of the procedure, let us look into the use of 3D printing in medical sciences, with an emphasis on orthopaedics.
According to a study published in the Global Health Journal, 3D models created using 3D printing cut medical part production costs and surgical planning time.
Integrating 3D printing with orthopaedics aids in the precise recognition and understanding of the problem, ensuring improved operational success.
This technology can help doctors/surgeons design, produce, replicate, and plan surgeries more precisely, thoughtfully, and cost-effectively.
3D models can let specialists visualise the pathology and life structures of a specific patient. 3D printing innovation paved the way for the virtual planning and execution of medical treatments.
The most significant application for 3D printing in orthopaedics is that it aids in the construction of accurate anatomical shapes and proposes that permeable bone replacement platforms can be integrated into patient implants.
It takes into account normal bone ingrowth, which ensures the implant’s long-term stability.

The author has mentioned some of the areas where 3D printing can be of great use below:

Trauma cases

In instances with big critical wounds with diverse bone discontinuities, and in those presenting bone deformations, orthopaedic surgery frequently encounters obstructions.
Radiographs are widely used for orthopaedic procedures, but they lack data on the precise 3D degree of bone defects. In these circumstances, 3D printing can be used successfully since it employs a 3D model that produces the desired results/data.

Surgical planning

3D printing models are frequently employed to help in the surgical planning process for restorative osteotomies, with the specific purpose of gaining a more educated outline of the biological systems and improving the detail of arranging, particularly in cases of minor medical procedures.
It generates a replica model of the patient’s influenced body organ/part that may be viewed and felt. Printed models of the hip, knees, and shoulders can be utilised to create a custom-fitted customised design of the affected part, which can then be used as patient-specific implants.

Surgery verification with reverse engineering

Another utilization of 3D printing is the identification of orthoses with the help of reverse engineering assistance with 3D scanners. This approach consistently fits the patient’s life systems and streamlines the plan’s choice and materials.

Customized tools and parts

Using physical models for treatment planning and perception rather than just computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or virtual remaking allows the doctor to image multiple sections of the human body with more accuracy.

Other benefits

Rapid prototyping (RP) allows for the engineering, fabricating, and assembling of items on time in the planned procedure, with the goal being to amend the misstep. Changes can be done while they are still economically viable.
AM reduces development time by allowing changes to an item to be made ahead of schedule. Dr. Vikas Gupta, Consultant, Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery (Orthopedics) at Fortis Hospitals, uses the method for removing a ring as an example tumor to highlight the benefits of using 3D printing.
“When removing a tumor, traditional methods of using a cast takes up time during which the tumor may grow in size. 3D printing effectively addresses this problem as the process is rapid.”
3D printing innovation can help specialists accomplish systems (operative process) more accurately. Even a few printing methods can create mechanical bones, human tissues, and organs that can be employed directly in the patient’s body.
Printing specific customised gadgets for patients can be used to ensure proper screw direction and embed layout with minimal presentation.
3D printing is used to construct procedures such as templating and pre-contouring an acetabular fracture Recon plate.
In another situation where 3D printed jigs are utilised for total knee arthroplasty, the results demonstrate an improvement in surgical outcomes and a reduction in overall surgical time, which helps to enhance overall performance.

“Aside from the cost-effective and time-saving aspects, 3D printing enables for the creation of patient-specific items, allowing for a wide range of adjustments to match the demands of particular patients.” Furthermore, 3D printing may be employed in remote places because all that is needed is the printer and the material, avoiding the need to transport expensive, heavy equipment,”

notes the author.

The advantages of 3D printing are numerous. However, like with other modern technology, there are some restrictions to its use, which are described below:

Cleaning limitations

The form capability of 3D printing introduces some new challenges for implant designers and manufacturers.
Because of the considerable geometric freedom, creators and manufacturers must consider the cleaning requirements of the instruments and incorporate them into the development stage.

Bio-printable materials limitation

Printable materials significantly limit cutting-edge 3D printing, particularly for the fabrication of implantable biomedical devices.
As a result, alternative material handling procedures are required to deal with materials that are not successfully printed.

Government directions, standardization, and regulatory limitations

The process of institutionalising 3D printing is ongoing. Administrative offices are becoming more at ease with 3D printing breakthroughs.
However, they may continue to impose 3D printing-specific requirements on medical device makers until recognised norms are accepted and understood by administrative specialists.

Bio-degradability and toxicity limitation

The degradation of the materials is a significant issue in 3D stages. Using degraded materials may result in hypoxia and acidosis inside the systems.
The entry of acidic debasement depends upon the level of acidosis, which may hurt the seeded cells and the including cells.
Regardless of its limitations, 3D printing is poised to transform medical operations. Leading medical luminaries have expressed their support for the use of 3D printing.
The possibilities are incredible, and 3D printing has a considerably higher success rate than other available technology. And, if the trajectory of technical growth is any indication, mechanical restrictions of 3D printing will be solved soon.

“Biological ink and matrix are becoming increasingly widespread, And cells, including stem cells, can be made to proliferate in the biological matrix. Thus, organs could be printed in the near future, providing a significant boost to the medical community. Thus, 3D printing provides numerous advantages and will soon become a vital technology in the medical field. Long organ transplant wait times will soon be a thing of the past.”

Dr. Gupta said of the technology’s future.

About – Dr. Vikas Gupta

Dr. Vikas Gupta is an eminent personality in the country’s Orthopedics field. A leading surgeon, Dr. Gupta has accumulated considerable experience in the field of Orthopedic surgery and has been one of the top luminaries in his field in the country.
Dr. Gupta has enjoyed significant success in introducing novel surgical methods and has crossed several milestones, including becoming the first surgeon in the country to replace all joints of the upper extremity from finger to shoulder.
Following his schooling at St. Xavier’s, New Delhi, Dr. Gupta enrolled in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), passing out in 1995 with a Master of Surgery (M.S.) degree in Orthopaedics.
  • Worked as a Senior Resident in the Department of Orthopedics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (A.I.I.M.S.) from Aug. 1996 till Sept. 1999.
  • Worked as Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopedics at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (A.I.I.M.S.) from May 2000 till June 2004.
  • Worked as Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopedics at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (A.I.I.M.S.) from July 2004 till November 2006.
  • Worked as Consultant for Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery (orthopedics)

At Fortis Hospitals from Nov 2006 to 2009

  • Worked as Senior consultant (orthopaedics) at Medanta Medicity from 2009 to 2013.
  • Promoted to Director at Medanta Medicity from 2013 to 2016.
  • Currently working at Max Superspeciality Hospital as Director (Orthopaedics), Hand to shoulder division.


  • First surgeon in the country to replace all joints of the upper extremity from finger to shoulder● first and probably only to perform arthroscopy of all joint of the upper extremity from PIP to shoulder
  • First LDRS to fix distal radius
  • First Total wrist replacement
  • First wrist revision replacement
  • First 3D-printed splint First 3D-printed hand prosthesis
The authored article is written by Dr. Vikas Gupta – Orthopaedics and Head – Hand & Shoulder Surgery, Max Hospital, Gurgaon & Max Smart Super Specialty Hospital, Saket and shared with Prittle Prattle News exclusively.
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