3D Systems has recently declared the successful spinal surgery of national sled hockey champion Mark Weimer, aided by 3D Systems’ proprietary digital manufacturing workflow for healthcare. The complicated 15-hour surgery was performed by Dr. George Frey of Mighty Oak Medical in Englewood, CO, to alleviate pain caused by nerve and spinal cord compression following previous operations. 3D Systems supported Dr. Frey in helping Mighty Oak Medical gain clearance and bring to market its FIREFLY® Technology for pedicle screw guidance. As a partner to Mighty Oak, 3D Systems has provided expert digitization and manufacturing services, and created patient-specific anatomical models to assist with planning in and help ensure precise pedicle screw placement during Weimer’s surgery. To resolve the pain and other issues stemming from Weimer’s anatomical and neurological condition, 3D Systems used Weimer’s CT scan data to generate a 3D model of Weimer’s spine that accounted for his natural anatomy as well as the foreign structures added in previous surgeries.
Using the digital representation of Weimer’s spine prepared by 3D Systems, biomedical engineers at Mighty Oak Medical determined the required trajectory of each pedicle screw and designed the associated surgical guides that would ensure accurate placement. These guides, along with a foot-long reference model of Weimer’s spine, were 3D printed by 3D Systems on a ProX® 800 Stereolithography (SLA) printer using a plastic material that can be sterilized for use in the operating room.