Jun Mizutani, Takeshi Matsubara, Muneyoshi Fukuoka, Nobuhiko Tanaka, Hirotaka Iguchi, Aiharu Furuya, Hideki Okamoto, Ikuo Wada, Takanobu Otsuka

May 2008, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 644 - 649 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-008-0611-3

First Online: 05 February 2008

Full-scale three-dimensional (3D) models offer a useful tool in preoperative planning, allowing full-scale stereoscopic recognition from any direction and distance with tactile feedback. Although skills and implants have progressed with various innovations, rheumatoid cervical spine surgery remains challenging. No previous studies have documented the usefulness of full-scale 3D models in this complicated situation. The present study assessed the utility of full-scale 3D models in rheumatoid cervical spine surgery. Polyurethane or plaster 3D models of 15 full-sized occipitocervical or upper cervical spines were fabricated using rapid prototyping (stereolithography) techniques from 1-mm slices of individual CT data. A comfortable alignment for patients was reproduced from CT data obtained with the patient in a comfortable occipitocervical position. Usefulness of these models was analyzed. Using models as a template, appropriate shape of the plate-rod construct could be created in advance. No troublesome Halo-vests were needed for preoperative adjustment of occipitocervical angle. No patients complained of dysphasia following surgery. Screw entry points and trajectories were simultaneously determined with full-scale dimensions and perspective, proving particularly valuable in cases involving high-riding vertebral artery. Full-scale stereoscopic recognition has never been achieved with any existing imaging modalities. Full-scale 3D models thus appear useful and applicable to all complicated spinal surgeries. The combination of computer-assisted navigation systems and full-scale 3D models appears likely to provide much better surgical results.

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