Using rapid prototyping molds to create patient specific polymethylmethacrylate implants in cranioplasty.
ABSTRACT Cranioplasty is a commonly performed procedure. Outcomes can be improved by the use of patient specific implants, however, high costs limit their accessibility. This paper presents a low cost alternative technique to create patient specific polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) implants using rapid prototyped mold template. We used available patient's CT-scans, one dataset without craniotomy and one with craniotomy, for computer-assisted design of a 3D mold template, which itself can be brought into the operating room and be used for fast and easy building of a PMMA implant. We applied our solution to three patients with positive outcomes and no complications.
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ABSTRACT: Decompressive craniectomies (DC) mandate future cranioplasties, accounting for the large array of biomaterials for this purpose. Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is a very reliable thermoplastic that can be prefabricated or even molded intraoperatively to create an adequate prosthesis. Preformed PMMA implants made by hand have been superseded by newer 3-D printed implants, but this is accompanied by higher costs and timing issues, apart from having limited availability in developing and third-world countries. A total of 26 patients were operated over a span of 11 years. A total of 26 custom hand-made PMMA prostheses were fabricated using original bone flaps with the aid of a prosthodontist, in a process that took approximately 70 minutes for each implant. The result was an exact duplication of the patient's bone flap. Of the 26 patients who underwent cranioplasty, the majority of patients were males, with a mean age of 39.2 years and traumatic brain injury as main indication for DC. After a mean interval of 2.4 months, all 26 patients underwent a cranioplasty and prosthesis placement. Only two patients (7.6%) suffered from direct cranioplasty-related complications after a median follow-up of 10.4 months. Median Glasgow Outcome Scale scores improved significantly from 3 to 4 after cranioplasty (P = 0.008). Prefabrication of custom PMMA prostheses by hand when original bone flaps are available is an excellent alternative to newer 3-D printing techniques, because it is relatively cheaper, less time consuming, and offers excellent results in terms of anatomical reconstruction and improvement of neurological function in long-term follow-ups.Surgical neurology international. 01/2013; 4:136.