Background: Acetabular fractures are difficult to classify owing to the complex three-dimensional (3D) anatomy of the pelvis. 3D printing helps to understand and reliably classify acetabular fracture types. 3D-virtual reality (VR) may have comparable benefits. Our hypothesis is that 3D-VR is equivalent to 3D printing in understanding acetabular fracture patterns. Methods: A total of 27 observers of various experience levels from several hospitals were requested to classify twenty 3D printed and VR models according to the Judet–Letournel classification. Additionally, surgeons were asked to state their preferred surgical approach and patient positioning. Time to classify each fracture type was recorded. The cases were randomized to rule out a learning curve. Inter-observer agreement was analyzed using Fleiss’ kappa statistics (κ). Results: Inter-observer agreements varied by observer group and type of model used to classify the fracture: medical students: 3D print (κ = 0.61), VR (κ = 0.41); junior surgical residents: 3D print (0.51) VR (0.54); senior surgical residents: 3D print (0.66) VR (0.52); junior surgeons: 3D print (0.56), VR (0.43); senior surgeons: 3D print (κ = 0.59), VR (κ = 0.42). Using 3D printed models, there was more agreement on the surgical approach (junior surgeons κ = 0.23, senior surgeons κ = 0.31) when compared with VR (junior surgeons κ = 0.17, senior surgeons 0.25). No difference was found in time used to classify these fractures between 3D printing and VR for all groups (P = 1.000). Conclusions: The Judet–Letournel acetabular classification stays difficult to interpret; only moderate kappa agreements were found. We found 3D-VR inferior to 3D printing in classifying acetabular fractures. Furthermore, the current 3D-VR technology is still not practical for intra-operative use.

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Surgery and Traumatology
European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Department of Surgery

Brouwers, L., Pull ter Gunne, A., de Jongh, M., Maal, T. J. J., Vreeken, R., van der Heijden, F., … Lansink, K. (2019). What is the value of 3D virtual reality in understanding acetabular fractures?. European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology. doi:10.1007/s00590-019-02537-w