3D-guided osteotomy

What is 3D-guided osteotomy?

An osteotomy is a surgical procedure that involves cutting a bone in order to modify its alignment, length or shape. It makes it possible to correct bone deformities and joint malformations in the limbs. In specific terms, the surgical procedure involves the surgeon first cutting a section of bone, realigning the bone in the desired position and then securing the whole thing using plates and screws. A traditional osteotomy in 2D is carried out on the basis of a scan, without any cutting guides. Thanks to the 3D modelling software developed by Prof. Andreas Schweizer at Balgrist University Hospital, it is now possible to create a replica of the injured bone and ultra-precise cutting guides. This enables the surgeon to be extremely meticulous when correcting the position of a bone.

In what area is 3D-guided osteotomy used?

Generally speaking, surgical treatment in the form of an osteotomy can be recommended for all patients, even young people who are still growing. It is primarily used in patients with bone fractures that have not healed in a good position. The operation is often carried out several months or even a year after an accident or earlier surgical intervention, when the pain occurs. The 3D planning technique can be used for all bones, including those in the upper limbs such as the hand or arm and those in the lower limbs such as the knee, hip or foot. This technique can also be used for spinal column surgery and even surgery on the jaw or nose.

What are the advantages of 3D-guided osteotomy?

A traditional osteotomy in 2D is carried out on the basis of a scan, without any cutting guides. This can sometimes result in difficult or even impossible surgical procedures for doctors due to a lack of precision and an inability to create the required angle. The 3D guide therefore enables the surgeon to be extremely meticulous when correcting the position of a bone. Furthermore, 3D-guided osteotomy makes it possible to significantly reduce the operating time as the procedure is entirely planned, completely predictable and accurate when it comes to the correction.

Post-operative care and follow-up

The post-operative follow-up will depend on the bone that has been operated on. In general, it is not recommended to carry loads until the bone has fully healed, which could take several months. The programme of rehabilitation through physiotherapy or occupational therapy sessions will be determined in the course of the post-operative check-ups and adapted to the individual

Why choose a 3D-guided osteotomy with the Swiss Medical Network?

At the Swiss Medical Network clinics, patients benefit from:

  • Leading experts in orthopaedics and trauma who specialise in the treatment of pathologies of the shoulder, spinal column, hand, hip, foot, ankle and knee
  • State-of-the-art technical facilities and infrastructure
  • Attentive and respectful care
  • Personalised care and tailored follow-up


Why is an osteotomy carried out?

In general, osteotomy is used for patients presenting with deformity or pain following a fracture or osteosynthesis. Following a clinical and radiological examination, the surgeon will suggest the most appropriate treatment or surgical procedure. Sometimes, it may be necessary to carry out a more detailed analysis or obtain a second medical opinion.

How is a 3D-guided osteotomy carried out?

A 3D-guided osteotomy starts with a scan of the two sides (right and left) of the joint, which is analysed by the surgeon. The images are then sent to the team at Balgrist University Hospital. The team there will first model the health limb and then, in mirror image, will perfectly reproduce the injured limb using the dimensions of the healthy side as a basis. Using the 3D printer, they will next create a replica of the bone in question and the cutting guides. Finally, the cutting guides will arrive at the doctor’s office, where they will carry out a thorough examination of each piece.