The effect of new preoperative preparation method compared to conventional method in complex acetabular fractures: minimum 2-year follow-up



This study aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of the new method including 3D printing-based preoperative planning, surgical workshop, and contouring of the plate versus conventional method in the surgical treatment of complex acetabular fractures.


We retrospectively analyzed the data in a cohort of 88 patients of complex acetabular fracture with mean 29.95 ± 4.84 months (24–41 months) follow-up. Patients were divided into two groups. Group 1 consisting of 41 patients were performed previewed surgery with a 3D printing-based pre-contoured plate on a 3D printing model. Group 2, comprised of 47 patients, were treated by the traditional contoured plate technique. The quality of reduction was assessed using criteria described by Matta. Functional outcome was evaluated using Modified Postel Merle D’Aubigne score. A custom-made quiz was used to evaluate the chief assistant.


The study showed no significant differences in measured preoperative variables except for the age between the Group 1 and Group 2 (p > 0.05). Compared with the Group 2, the intraoperative blood loss, operative time was significantly decreased in Group 1 (p < 0.05). There were no significant statistical differences in the quality of reduction and Modified Postel Merle D’Aubigne score (p > 0.05). The result of evaluation of assistant in Group 1 was significantly high than in Group 2 (p < 0.05).


3D printing-based pre-contoured plate is a more effective and reliable method than traditional contoured plate technique for treating the complex acetabular fractures. Meanwhile, the 3D printing is a useful orthopedic surgical education tool which can improve the understanding of the complex acetabular fracture for a young surgeon.

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We thank Xing Wei, Ping Liu, Hu Wang, Yahui Fu, for collecting the data, and Yuxuan Cong for helping to finish the statistics. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kun Zhang.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Committee of Honghui Hospital, Xi′an Jiaotong University Health Science Center (No. 2016–088). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All patients signed informed consent forms prior to the study.

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Wang, P., Kandemir, U., Zhang, B. et al. The effect of new preoperative preparation method compared to conventional method in complex acetabular fractures: minimum 2-year follow-up. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 141, 215–222 (2021).

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  • Acetabulum
  • Fractures
  • 3D printing
  • Internal fixation
  • Plate