The use of RP models for surgical planning is making rapid strides outside the United States. Initial results indicate that RP models can provide unique capabilities in specific applications. Programs are principally focused on complex surgeries, where an anatomically accurate model can significantly impact diagnostics, planning, patient counseling, and performance of the procedure. RP models are used where the procedure requires detailed knowledge of the patient's unique anatomical characteristics. Programs in both Europe and Japan are focused on improving the accuracy of the data analysis of the images produced by tomographic scanners. The European program to quantify the benefit of using RP models should provide the concrete statistics needed to present to insurance companies to justify their consideration of this procedure as a covered expense. The U.S. programs are extremely limited. Other medical applications for RP are emerging, and their impact will grow.

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Published: March 1997; WTEC Hyper-Librarian