Dr. Boyd Goldie – Making Surgical Procedures More Efficient

Case Study

//Dr. Boyd Goldie – Making Surgical Procedures More Efficient
Dr. Boyd Goldie – Making Surgical Procedures More Efficient2018-12-07T15:25:49+00:00

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.

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“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

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

Dr. Boyd Goldie – Introduction

Dr Boyd Goldie, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon – The Holly Private Hospital, London, treats patients with conditions associated with the upper limbs including the shoulder, elbow, wrist and arm. He carries out a range of emergency and elective procedures and provides several different upper limb treatments for his patients. Dr Goldie is a pioneer in the use of 3D printers in orthopedics and has lectured extensively on the topic. He uses the technology regularly in his practice. 3D printing helps him educate patients and facilitates the planning of complex surgeries by using 3D printed models as a guide during the operation.


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 took weeks for the 3D prints to be delivered. As Dr. Goldie says: “This is no good if you have a guy with a broken wrist and you’re going to operate tomorrow.”

In preparation for surgery, the radiographers take a CT scan and save the data to CD for Dr. Goldie to review.
Dr. Goldie converts the medical scan into a printable model using free, open-source software.


Dr Goldie purchased an Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer. When used in combination with open-source software (slicer.org), he can 3D print accurate fracture replicas in a matter of hours; depending on the size of the area. Dr Goldie explains how it works. “I ask the radiographers to put the CT on a disk. You can then extract the files and import them into the software to make the finals for the 3D printer.” The Ultimaker has also saved Dr Goldie money. Medical software is costly (thousands of pounds) and takes time to use. With his 3D printer, Dr Goldie can create models in minutes, at a fraction of the price.


This process benefits Dr. Goldie and his patient. The patient gains a deeper understanding of the problem and how the doctor will address the issue. Dr. Goldie is better prepared and careful surgical preparation reduces surgery times. This makes 3D printing a cost-effective innovation for all procedures. It’s less expensive and faster than using conventional surgical equipment.

With his Ultimaker 2+, Dr. Goldie can print the bone model in a matter of hours.

Cost and Time Saved using 3D Printing

3D printing costs depend on both model size and degree of complexity. On average, a wrist-bone print requires 1.5 m of PLA and an upper arm bone needs 7.3 m. With Ultimaker 2+ in the office, surgical planning time was reduced from weeks to just a few hours and costs were lowered by 100 times

External supplier

Ultimaker 3D printer + proprietary software

Ultimaker 3D printer + open-source software

Cost $850/model Cost $345/model Cost $7/model
Time 2 weeks/model Time 5 hours/model Time 2.5 hours/model

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