Endoscopic Treatment of Symptomatic Foot and Ankle Bone Cyst with 3D Printing Application

Objective: To study the efficacy of arthroscopy for treating symptomatic bone cysts of the foot and ankle through the follow-up of patients and to further explore the application value of 3D printing technology in this treatment.

Methods: Twenty-one patients with symptomatic bone cysts in the foot and ankle who underwent arthroscopic surgery in our Center from March 2010 to December 2018 were enrolled, including 11 in the experimental group and 10 in the control group. For the control group, C-arm fluoroscopy was used intraoperatively to confirm the positioning of the cysts; for the experimental group, a 3D model of the lesion tissue and the 3D-printed individualized guides were prepared to assist the positioning of the cysts. Debridement of the lesion tissues was conducted under an arthroscope. Regular follow-ups were conducted. The time of establishing arthroscopic approaches and the times of intraoperative fluoroscopy between the two groups were compared. Significance was determined as P < 0.05.

Results: The postoperative pathology of the patients confirmed the diagnosis. No significant perioperative complications were observed in either group, and no recurrence of bone cysts was seen at the last follow-up. The VAS scores and AOFAS scores of the two groups at the last follow-up were significantly improved compared with the preoperative data, but there was no statistical difference between the two groups. All surgeries were performed by the same senior surgeon. The time taken to establish the arthroscopic approaches between the two groups was statistically significant (P < 0.001), and the times of intraoperative fluoroscopy required to establish the approach were also statistically significant (P < 0.001). The intraoperative bleeding between the two groups was statistically significant (P < 0.01). There was 1 case in each group whose postoperative CT showed insufficient bone grafting, but no increase in cavity volume was observed during the follow-up.

Conclusion: With the assistance of the 3D printing technology for treating symptomatic bone cysts of the ankle and foot, the surgeon can design the operation preoperatively and perform the rehearsal, which would make it easier to establish the arthroscopic approach, better understand the anatomy, and make the operation smoother. This trial is registered with http://www.clinicaltrials.govNCT03152916.