Volumetric Analysis of Alveolar Bone Defect Using Three-Dimensional-Printed Models Versus Computer-Aided Engineering

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Abstract

Knowing the volume of a graft is essential in repairing alveolar bone defects. This study investigates the 2 advanced preoperative volume measurement methods: three-dimensional (3D) printing and computer-aided engineering (CAE). Ten unilateral alveolar cleft patients were enrolled in this study. Their computed tomographic data were sent to 3D printing and CAE software. A simulated graft was used on the 3D-printed model, and the graft volume was measured by water displacement. The volume calculated by CAE software used mirror-reverses technique. The authors compared the actual volumes of the simulated grafts with the CAE software-derived volumes. The average volume of the simulated bone grafts by 3D-printed models was 1.52 mL, higher than the mean volume of 1.47 calculated by CAE software. The difference between the 2 volumes was from −0.18 to 0.42 mL. The paired Student t test showed no statistically significant difference between the volumes derived from the 2 methods. This study demonstrated that the mirror-reversed technique by CAE software is as accurate as the simulated operation on 3D-printed models in unilateral alveolar cleft patients. These findings further validate the use of 3D printing and CAE technique in alveolar defect repairing.

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