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ABSTRACT: Three-dimensional printing is being rapidly incorporated in the medical field to produce external prosthetics for improved cosmesis and fabricated molds to aid in presurgical planning. Biomedically engineered products from 3-dimensional printers are also utilized as implantable devices for knee arthroplasty, airway splints, and other surgical procedures. Although at first expensive and conceptually difficult to construct, 3-dimensional printing is now becoming more affordable and widely accessible. In hand surgery, like many other specialties, new or customized instruments would be desirable; however, the overall production cost restricts their development. We are presenting our step-by-step experience in creating a bone reduction clamp for finger fractures using 3-dimensional printing technology. Using free, downloadable software, a 3-dimensional model of a bone reduction clamp for hand fractures was created based on the senior author’s (S.M.F.) specific design, previous experience, and preferences for fracture fixation. Once deemed satisfactory, the computer files were sent to a 3-dimensional printing company for the production of the prototypes. Multiple plastic prototypes were made and adjusted, affording a fast, low-cost working model of the proposed clamp. Once a workable design was obtained, a printing company produced the surgical clamp prototype directly from the 3-dimensional model represented in the computer files. This prototype was used in the operating room, meeting the expectations of the surgeon. Three-dimensional printing is affordable and offers the benefits of reducing production time and nurturing innovations in hand surgery. This article presents a step-by-step description of our design process using online software programs and 3-dimensional printing services. As medical technology advances, it is important that hand surgeons remain aware of available resources, are knowledgeable about how the process works, and are able to take advantage of opportunities in order to advance the field.The Journal Of Hand Surgery 09/2014; 39(9). DOI:10.1016/j.jhsa.2014.06.009
- 09/2014; 1(1). DOI:10.1016/j.gendis.2014.08.003
- 08/2014; 1(1). DOI:10.1016/j.gendis.2014.08.004
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