J Korean Neurosurg Soc.  2021 Jul;64(4):495-504. 10.3340/jkns.2020.0272.

Implications of 3-Dimensional Printed Spinal Implants on the Outcomes in Spine Surgery

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Desert Regional Medical Center, Palm Springs, CA, USA
  • 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA
  • 3Department of Neurology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 4New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA


Three-dimensional printing (3DP) applications possess substantial versatility within surgical applications, such as complex reconstructive surgeries and for the use of surgical resection guides. The capability of constructing an implant from a series of radiographic images to provide personalized anatomical fit is what makes 3D printed implants most appealing to surgeons. Our objective is to describe the process of integration of 3DP implants into the operating room for spinal surgery, summarize the outcomes of using 3DP implants in spinal surgery, and discuss the limitations and safety concerns during pre-operative consideration. 3DP allows for customized, light weight, and geometrically complex functional implants in spinal surgery in cases of decompression, tumor, and fusion. However, there are limitations such as the cost of the technology which is prohibitive to many hospitals. The novelty of this approach implies that the quantity of longitudinal studies is limited and our understanding of how the human body responds long term to these implants is still unclear. Although it has given surgeons the ability to improve outcomes, surgical strategies, and patient recovery, there is a need for prospective studies to follow the safety and efficacy of the usage of 3D printed implants in spine surgery.


3D printed; Spinal implants; Spine surgery; Innovation; Biologics
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