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Evaluating surface coatings to reduce bone cement adhesion to point of care 3D printed molds in the intraoperative setting

October 04, 2022

Journal: 3D Printing in Medicine

Who: Brian Beitler, Gregory R. Roytman, Grace Parmer, Steven M. Tommasini, and Daniel H. Wiznia

Overview: Polymethyl methacrylate, or “bone cement,” can be used intraoperatively to replace damaged or diseased bone and to deliver local antibiotics. 3D printed molds allow surgeons to form personalized and custom shapes with bone cement. One factor hindering the clinical utility of anatomically accurate 3D printed molds is that cured bone cement can be difficult to remove due to the strong adhesion between the mold and the bone cement. One way to reduce the adhesion between the 3D printed mold and the cured bone cement is with the use of a surface coating, such as a lubricant. This study sought to determine the optimal surface coating to prevent bone cement adhesion to 3D printed molds that could be utilized within a sterile operating room environment.

Hemispheric molds were 3D printed using a stereolithography printer. The molds were coated with four sterile surface coatings available in most operating theatres (light mineral oil, bacitracin ointment, lubricating jelly, and ultrasound transmission gel). Polymethyl methacrylate with tobramycin antibiotic was mixed and poured into the molds. The amount of force needed to “push out” the cured bone cement from the molds was measured to determine the efficacy of each surface coating. Tukey’s multiple comparison test was performed to compare the results of the pushout test.

The average pushout force for the surface coatings, in increasing order, were as follows (mean ± standard deviation) --- bacitracin ointment: 9.10 ± 6.68 N, mineral oil: 104.93 ± 69.92 N, lubricating jelly: 147.76 ± 63.77 N, control group: 339.31 ± 305.20 N, ultrasound transmission gel 474.11 ± 94.77 N. Only the bacitracin ointment required significantly less pushout force than the control (p = 0.0123).

The bacitracin ointment was the most effective surface coating, allowing the bone cement to be pushed out of the mold using the least amount of force. In addition, the low standard deviation speaks to the reliability of the bacitracin ointment to reduce mold adhesion compared to the other surface coatings. Given its efficacy as well as its ubiquitous presence in the hospital operating room setting, bacitracin ointment is an excellent choice to prevent adhesion between bone cement and 3D printed molds intraoperatively.

Submitted by John Ready on October 04, 2022