Various techniques for anterior column reconstruction have been described after en bloc resection of spinal tumors. Limited evidence exists regarding one being superior to another. The purpose of a study was to evaluate 3D-printed vertebral bodies for spinal reconstruction after en bloc resection in the thoracolumbar spine.
Prospective observational study on custom-made 3D-printed titanium reconstruction of vertebral bodies after en bloc resection for spinal tumor was conducted between November 2015 and June 2017. 3D-printed vertebral bodies were monitored for mechanical complications such as (1) migration, (2) subsidence into the adjacent vertebral bodies, and/or (3) breakage. Complications and related details were recorded.
Thirteen patients (7 females and 6 males) were enrolled, and reconstruction of the anterior column was performed using custom-made 3D-printed titanium prosthesis after en bloc resection for spinal tumor (8 primary bone tumors and 5 solitary metastases). Subsidence into the adjacent vertebral bodies occurred in all patients at both proximal and distal bone-implant interfaces; however, it was clinically irrelevant (asymptomatic, and no consequences on posterior instrumentation), in 11 out of 12 patients (92%). In 1 patient, severity of the subsidence led to revision of the construct. At an average 10-month follow-up (range 2-16), 1 implant was removed due to local recurrence of the disease and 1 was revisioned due to progressive distal junctional kyphosis.
Preliminary results from this series suggest that 3D printing can be effectively used to produce custom-made prosthesis for anterior column reconstruction 1).
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