To determine the feasibility of a patient-specific, three-dimensionally (3D)-printed reconstruction plate for repair of lateral skull base defects.
Prospective case series and cadaveric study.
A university-based, tertiary care hospital.
Three patients with lateral skull base defects and five cadavers.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Caliper gauge fit testing was performed in the cadaver temporal bones to determine the fit of the tegmen plate in engaging the tegmen defect. Additionally, three patients underwent standard of care reconstruction of their middle fossa floor using autografts or allografts. Temporary plate insertion during standard operative repair was performed to gauge feasibility and fit. Operative time required for standard grafting compared with placement of the tegmen plate was examined.
Real-time, intraoperative placement of the tegmen plate in our patients under 1 minute compared with nearly 60 minutes for standard surgical repair. Tegmen plates covered the defects and locked into place from contour matching without impinging on critical structures. Fit testing revealed flush-fitting plates to the cadaveric temporal bone surface with all gaps less than 500 μm.
Computer modeling and 3D printing can design custom fitted tegmen reconstruction plates for temporal bone defects. Versatility in prefabrication and 3D modeling shows potential in allowing the construct to avoid critical structures and adequately cover defects with high precision to the tegmen surface.