3D-printing technology is slowly revolutionising the world in which we live, and for medical professionals, it is also helping to save lives.
When it comes to complex organ defects, even with the aid of modern imaging, surgeons are not always able to accurately assess potential problems prior to surgery.
Life-saving cardiac operations have already been successfully undertaken with the help of this technology, but due to the complexity of the data modelling involved it can be a time-consuming process to create and print detailed 3D models.
Our collaborators are convinced that this will make a difference. The phrase I heard is that ‘surgeons see with their hands,’ that the perception is in the touch. Polina Golland, MIT Professor
MIT has been working in collaboration with researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital to convert MRI scans into accurate 3D-printed replicas. Over the coming months, the research team will work with surgeons to assess the usefulness of these models. Ultimately, their aim will be to get the printing time down to 30 minutes or less.
Meanwhile, Fasotec, a Japanese company, is creating 3D-printed lung and bladder models that can be used in simulated surgeries. The life-like Biotexture Wet Models are printed in a soft, tissue-like material to provide a realistic ‘operation experience’ for training purposes.
Not only young, inexperienced doctors but also experienced doctors can perform a better operation if they can have a rehearsal first. Maki Sugimoto, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine
Many exciting uses for 3D printing are currently being developed in the field of medicine – including ‘3D bioprinting’ of organs and replacement limbs using living cells. Although the development of bio-printing is still very much in its infancy – and decades of research lays ahead – 3D-printing is already making its mark in this field.
- For more information about MIT 3D-printed heart replicas, click here >
- Fasotec 3D-printed Biotexture Wet Model organs article >
- Article about 3D bioprinting >
Image copyrights: Bryce Vickmark , MIT, Yoshikazu Tsuno, Fasotec
MIT 3D-printed heart models are featured in Rhine Capital Partner investment reporting for September.
- On 21st September 2015