Application of 3D printing technology to thoracic wall tumor resection and thoracic wall reconstruction

Yi Wu, Na Chen, Zhou Xu, Xiaoqin Zhang, Li Liu, Chunling Wu, Shaoxiang Zhang, Yan Song, Tao Wu, Hongxiang Liu, Meng Tang, Wei Wu


Background: Thoracic wall tumors can leave large defects in the thoracic wall after tumor resection. Currently, the shape of the materials commonly used for thoracic wall repair, including dacron mesh and titanium alloy mesh, cannot readily conform to the shapes of defect sites. In this study, we aimed to retrospectively review and evaluate the outcomes of applying three-dimensional (3D) printing technology in assisting in thoracic wall tumor resection and thoracic wall construction.
Methods: Six patients with thoracic wall tumors underwent thin-slice CT scanning. We 3D reconstructed pleural tumors and adjacent structures with Amira software and 3D printed them. Preoperative simulation, surgical rehearsal, and surgical planning were performed, and 3D conformal titanium plates were created based on 3D reconstruction models and sutured to the defect sites of the thoracic wall. We also retrospectively reviewed 10 patients who underwent this surgery with conventional methods. All of the demographic data, clinical data, and laboratory findings (non-normally distributed variables) were compared between these two groups.
Results: 3D reconstructions of the tumors and their adjacent structures were successfully performed, and 3D printing physical models and conformal titanium plates were also successfully obtained. The plate afforded accurate matching, less bleeding, fewer postoperative complications, and less pain.
Conclusions: This 3D printing technology can aid in preoperative rehearsal, surgical planning, and the manufacturing of 3D implants. The 3D titanium plate has such advantages over traditional implants as having good fit and hardness, improving the surgical accuracy and curative effect, and reducing complications, such as bleeding and pain.