3D-printed Models in Healthcare

Pre-Surgical Planning
Training and Education
Patient
Communication
Implants
and
Medical Devices 
Pre-Surgical Planning

Accurate 3D printed anatomical models from real patient data aids pre-surgical planning. Doctors can evaluate and verify the best treatment options for the patient. Complicated procedures can be rehearsed on the models prior to the date of the actual procedure, helping to boost the confidence of the surgeons. Instruments and implants can be selected beforehand. Fracture sites can be analysed and the location/trajectory of alignment screws and fixation plates optimized. Implants can be pre-contoured using the models to ensure a better fit.

-  Reduce surgery times

-  Improve fit of implant

-  Enhance patient outcomes

3D printed models used to pre-contour fixation plates for a complex pelvic and acetabular fracture

Spinal anatomical models produced by 3D Systems used as reference during Mark Wiemer's surgery.

 
Training and Education

3D printed tactile models can be an invaluable tool for residents to understand complex anatomy. They can be held and easily manipulated to visualize any pathology, compared to digital scans. Models can be used to practise procedures as they can be drilled and sawed similar to real bone, providing better hands-on training. Sample cases can be easily duplicated without facing logistical problems and costs associated with cadavers.

-  Provide better understanding of complex anatomy

-  Increase hands on practice

-  Reduce cadaver costs and logistics

3D printed models being drilled and sawed similar to real bone

Models of blood vessels developed by 3D Systems to assist training of complex stent placement surgeries.

 
Doctor-Patient Communication

Not only are 3D printed anatomical models helpful in visualizing complex anatomical structures and pathologies, they can also be used to facilitate communication between physicians and surgeons in situations which require involvement of multiple disciplines. 3D printed models also help doctors explain about the conditions to their patients and family more clearly/visually.

-  Enhance inter-physician communication

-  Enhance doctor-patient communication

3D printed heart models are used by Phoenix Children's Heart Centre to visualize heart abnormalities, plan surgical procedures and communicate with the patient's family regarding the pathology and possible treatment options.

 
Implants and Medical Devices

With the recent advances in 3D printing technology, it has now become possible to print using biocompatible polymers and metal alloys. This has facilitated the development of end-use medical devices such as implants, prostheses and surgical guides, custom-made in a more cost-effective manner. 3D printing has helped improve the fit of the implants leading to reduced surgery times, lower implant rejection rates and quicker patient recovery.

-  Improved fit of the implant to patient specific anatomy

-  Customized devices at a lower cost

-  Quicker patient recovery

3D printed surgical guides to aid in spinal operation.

Acetabular cup 3D printed in Titanium alloy. Additive manufacturing enables printing of surface porosity directly onto the model which aids in better integration with the patient's bone tissue.

 

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