3D-assisted corrective osteotomies of the distal radius: a comparison of pre-contoured conventional implants versus patient-specific implants

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Purpose: There is a debate whether corrective osteotomies of the distal radius should be performed using a 3D work-up with pre-contoured conventional implants (i.e., of-the-shelf) or patient-specific implants (i.e., custom-made). This study aims to assess the postoperative accuracy of 3D-assisted correction osteotomy of the distal radius using either implant.

Methods: Twenty corrective osteotomies of the distal radius were planned using 3D technologies and performed on Thiel embalmed human cadavers. Our workflow consisted of virtual surgical planning and 3D printed guides for osteotomy and repositioning. Subsequently, left radii were fixated with patient-specific implants, and right radii were fixated with pre-contoured conventional implants. The accuracy of the corrections was assessed through measurement of rotation, dorsal and radial angulation and translations with postoperative CT scans in comparison to their preoperative virtual plan.

Results: Twenty corrective osteotomies were executed according to their plan. The median differences between the preoperative plan and postoperative results were 2.6° (IQR: 1.6–3.9°) for rotation, 1.4° (IQR: 0.6–2.9°) for dorsal angulation, 4.7° (IQR: 2.9–5.7°) for radial angulation, and 2.4 mm (IQR: 1.3–2.9 mm) for translation of the distal radius, thus sufficient for application in clinical practice. There was no significant difference in accuracy of correction when comparing pre-contoured conventional implants with patient-specific implants.

Conclusion: 3D-assisted corrective osteotomy of the distal radius with either pre-contoured conventional implants or patient-specific implants results in accurate corrections. The choice of implant type should not solely depend on accuracy of the correction, but also be based on other considerations like the availability of resources and the preoperative assessment of implant fitting.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23-Jan-2024


  • 3D technology
  • Corrective osteotomy
  • Distal radius
  • Guided surgery
  • Patient-specific implants
  • Virtual surgical planning

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