Introduction: Three-dimensional (3D) technology, also called by various names rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, or solid free-form technology, has gained momentum over the last 2 decades. Initially, its application was limited because it was seen as unobtainable and expensive with limited clinical application. Initially, it was created by subtraction from the raw material but is currently manufactured by an additive process. 3D printing is a process in which objects are fabricated by fusing or depositing materials in layers from the fed computer data. The physical model is built in layers, with one thin layer at a time after the formulation of the digital design in standard triangle language (STL) format. The physical model is manufactured using both solid and liquid elements and also a large array of materials, including plastics, metals, and ceramics. This facilitates computer-aided design to develop and manufacture orthopedic devices and instruments.
Materials and methods: The search words included all the synonyms of 3D printing, prototype, rapid prototyping, and additive printing about arthroplasty in the abstract. The results were limited to English language and human samples. The comprehensive search was run through Ovid Medline, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane and nonindexed citations to generate papers incorporating 3D printing and arthroplasty primarily. The result dates back from 1908 to March 2018. The total number of papers generated was 4,554. The duplication of papers was reduced to 2,395. The systemic search results for Ovid Medline, Epub ahead of print, in-process and other nonindexed citations, Ovid Medline® Daily, Ovid Medline, and Versions (R).
Results: The 2,395 abstracts were scanned for the involvement of 3D printing or rapid prototyping involving the keyword arthroplasty of any region. A total of 58 articles were eligible. The distribution of papers in various regions was hip (21), hip and knee (five), knee (21), pelvic and hip (six), proximal interphalangeal (PIP) (one), shoulder (three), and wrist (one).
Conclusion: Three-dimensional (3D) printing application in orthopedic arthroplasty is very exciting and has the definite potential to alter the future of the orthopedic practice. It can mimic and reproduce the complex structure from severe to complicated cases into a physical model that can be used in preoperatively surgical planning of joint arthroplasty. Patient-specific guides can be generated to serve as cutting guides during the surgery. 3D printing facilitates accurate preoperative planning and better outcome, even in complex and deformed cases. The use of 3D printing improves the clinical outcome in arthroplasty. Limitations are the results of long-term use, quality of the model, cost of production, and production time.
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