Case Studies Crushed calcaneus reconstruction - Ortho case

Enhanced pre-operative planning - crushed calcaneus reconstruction

Case Study

A physical 3D printed planning model was created to aid in pre-operative planning and osteotomy selection for open reduction and internal fixation for a patient with complex calcaneal fracture.


The male patient was admitted to the Ulster Hospital with extensive crush injuries to the left calcaneus. Due to the amorphous arrangement and close proximal anatomy of the foot, a comprehensive understanding of the extent of the patient’s injuries was difficult to ascertain using CT scans alone.


The surgeon was provided with a 1:1 scale 3D printed model of the complex calcaneal fracture with the surrounding anatomy of the foot (including distal aspects of tibia and fibular, talus, navicular and cuboid bones) (Fig 1, 2 & 3).


The model gave a much greater understanding of the complexity of the fractures and allowed accurate planning of open reduction and internal fixation (Fig 4 & 5). The model provided was also deemed to be extremely useful in educating medical staff on the extent of the patient’s injuries prior to surgery.

"I was provided with a 3D physical model of a complex calcaneal fracture which allowed me to understand the complexity of the fracture and plan open reduction and internal fixation. The model was of a high standard and was extremely useful in pre-operative planning and educating medical staff."

- Mr. A. Adair, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, Ulster Hospital, Northern Ireland


Using the 3D printed models, trial operations can be carried out to improve planning and reduce the surgical time associated with difficult cases. Articular sites and fractures are particularly clear on the models, compared to standard imaging. 3D models also enable clearer communication with patients and post-op staff.


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