Three-dimensional printing of large nasal septal perforations for optimal prosthetic closure

Zeynep Onerci Altunay, Joseph A. Bly, Philip K. Edwards, David R. Holmes, Grant S. Hamilton, Erin K. O'Brien, Alan B. Carr, Jon J. Camp, Janalee K. Stokken, John F. Pallanch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Since 1972, patients with large nasal perforations, who were symptomatic, and who were not candidates for surgery, had the option of custom prosthetic closure at Mayo Clinic. Although septal prostheses have helped many patients, 27% of pre-1982 patients chose not to keep the prosthesis in place. Two-dimensional computed tomography (CT) sizing resulted in more of the patients choosing to retain the prosthesis. The introduction of three-dimensional (3-D) printing to the sizing process offered the potential of further improved retention by refinement in prosthesis fit. Objective: To describe the fabrication of nasal septal prostheses by using 3-D printing for sizing and to compare the retention rate of 3-D-sized prostheses with those that used previous sizing methods. Methods: Twenty-one consecutive patients who had placement of septal prostheses sized by using 3-D printed templates were studied. CT image data were used to print 3-D templates of the exact shape of the patient's septal perforation, and medical-grade silastic prostheses were fabricated to fit. In four cases, the 3-D printed template allowed preoperative surgical simulation. Metrics collected included prosthesis retention; symptoms, including intranasal crusting and epistaxis; and previous prosthetic closure failures. Results: Twenty of the twenty-one patients had improvement in symptoms. The mean diameter of the perforations was 2.4 cm; the mean closure time by the end of the study period was 2.2 years. All but two patients chose to keep their prosthesis in place, for a retention rate of 90%. Seven patients with successful closure had failed previously with prior prosthesis sized without the current 3-D printing methodology. This 90% retention rate exceeded the previous rates before the introduction of 3-D sizing. Conclusion: Sizing done by 3-D printing for prosthetic closure of nasal septal perforations resulted in a higher retention rate in helping patients with these most-challenging nasal septal perforations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-293
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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