Instant surgical planning with 3D printed bone models

Dr. Boyd Goldie, an orthopedic surgeon in London, uses 3D printing to make invaluable visualization aids for surgeries, saving time and money in the process. The technology offers numerous benefits, including better surgical preparation, significant reduction of surgical costs and more opportunities for better patient education.  



Making surgical procedures more efficient


"3D printing has utterly changed my workflow. As a surgeon, it helps me plan my operation and gives me a better understanding of what I’m dealing with so I don’t have any surprises in the operating room. With modern radiology software, you can see a virtual model on-screen, but there’s nothing like holding a model in your hands."

– Boyd Goldie, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, MBBS, BSc, FRCS, DHMSA

Challenge and solution 


3D printing is commonly used in complex surgery, but most surgeons order externally-made 3D prints. Dr. Goldie wasn’t content with this arrangement. It was very expensive (hundreds of pounds per print) and required weeks for the 3D prints to be delivered.


In preparation for surgery, the radiographers take a CT scan and save the data to CD for review. Dr. Goldie then converts the medical scan into a printable model using free, open-source software ( With his Ultimaker 2+, he then prints the bone in a matter of hours – depending on the dimensions required.



In-house accessibility of the technology

Customized models are printed on demand and are no longer dependent on third-party suppliers. It’s intuitive, easy to get started, affordable and fast.

Scalable custom-made models

3D printed models of critical anatomical areas can be tailored to fit any unique requirement. You get precise results no matter how complex the model.

Quick turnaround time of model fabrication

Using his Ultimaker 3D printer, Dr. Goldie reduces the time involved with bone model preparation from weeks to just a few hours and costs were lowered by 100 times.

Low-cost, effective visualization aids

The desktop 3D printer and open source software produce bone models at a fraction of the cost of prints produced by external suppliers.