In 2012, Susan S. fell in her home and broke her wrist; an accident that wreaked havoc on her radius bone, medical bills, and life for over five years. During those years, she underwent two unsuccessful volar plate surgeries, visited countless doctors, suffered years of pain and post-surgical complications in her wrist, and spent over $50k in medical bills. The issue lied in the size and thickness of the volar plate her first surgeon installed in her radius bone, which became so unbearably painful that she needed it removed two months later.

Frustrated with her experience, Susan sought a way to visualize the surgical shortcomings and complications, and prevent the issue in the future. Although she could not physically view the plate in her wrist, she was able to interact with an exact replica via ZVerse’s 3D Printing technology.

By examining her own wrist replica, Susan could self-diagnose a number of issues, including erosion in her major tendons due to plate friction, and a clear inaccuracy of the plate and screw sizes relative to her radius bone. With her new understanding, Susan could ensure that if this happened again, she could use her 3D model to custom fit a wrist plate with hyper-accuracy.

I would definitely recommend 3-D printing in general and ZVerse in particular to any patient considering orthopedic implant surgery. Personally I would not give surgical consent without having the surgeon prove to me via 3-D print that the proposed implant and screws would fit properly! –Susan S.

Not only does Susan’s story carry major implications for the future of medical diagnosis, but it also points to applications such as swapping blueprints for 3D models, and providing visual,
tangible evidence in courtroom trials to facilitate juror comprehension.