ManganaroM, Morag Y, Weadock W, Yablon C, Gaetke-Udager K, Stein E. Creating three-dimensional printed models of acetabular fractures for use as educational tools . RadioGraphics. 2017,37(3):871-880


Acetabular fractures are frequently encountered in some clinical practices, and the precise classification of these fractures greatly influences treatments and outcomes. The authors identified the need for an educational aid when teaching acetabular fracture classifications, given the complex spatial anatomy and the nonintuitive classification system that is commonly used. Three-dimensional (3D) printing is an evolving technique that has applications as an educational aid, providing the student with a tangible object to interact with and learn from. In this article, the authors review their experience creating 3D printed models of the hip for educational purposes. Their goal was to create 3D printed models for use as educational aids when teaching acetabular fracture classifications. Complex cases involving a combination of fracture types, subtle nondisplaced fractures, and/or fractures with associated osteopenia or artifacts were excluded. The selected computed tomographic (CT) scans were loaded into a medical 3D volume-rendering program, and a 3D volumetric model was created. Standard Tessellation Language (STL) files were then exported to STL model–editing software and edited to retain only the involved hemipelvis. In some cases, the proximal femur and ipsilateral hemisacrum may be included to emphasize hip alignment or disruption of the force transfer. Displaced fracture fragments can be printed as separate segments or a single unit after the addition of struts. Printing was performed by using an additive manufacturing principle, with approximately 36–48 hours needed for printing, postprocessing, and drying. The cost to print a 1:1 scale model was approximately $100–$200, depending on the amount of plastic material used. These models can then be painted according to the two-column theory regarding acetabular fractures.

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