Case Studies 3D shoulder model

Using 3D printing to reinstate movement in a patient's fused shoulder

Case Study
  • Orthopedics


Shoulder anatomy is one of the most complex areas within the body. With multiple overlapping and articulating structures, it can be extremely hard to plan surgery for these complex 3D structures using 2D images.

In this case, the patient's humeral head and glenoid fossa (shoulder joint) had completely fused, meaning the patient had lost all range of movement in the joint.


The surgeon, Mr. Eames, contacted Axial3D to produce multiple 3D printed models from the patient’s 2D CT scans to assess bone stock on both the humeral head and glenoid fossa. It also allowed Mr. Eames to assess the joint structure once the bones were separated from one another (like in the image above).

The 3D models were critical tools in Mr. Eames’ plan for separation and reconstructive procedures. The model allowed him to plan his exact approach and collect the appropriate equipment for the reconstruction well in advance of stepping foot into the operating theater. This resulted in reduced time spent in the OR, and a much better experience for the patient. Following the procedure and joint replacement the patient was able to regain use of their shoulder joint, vastly improving their quality of life.

“The 3D printed model gave a much greater understanding of the complex arrangement of the glenohumeral joint. I just wouldn’t have been able to get this level of understanding from my current imaging available to me.”

– Mr. Michael Eames, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, Ulster Hospital, Belfast

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