There are a lot of really interesting 3D printing project that have made the headlines in recent years,maybe the most impactful projects where 3D printing has assisted is in the medical industry. The traditional approach for operating on an organ probably didn’t involve practicing on a test organ that has the exact fit and issues that are in the patient about to go under the knife, 3D printing is changing that. Using scanning technologies along with Stratasys Polyjet 3D printing, doctors can have a test heart, liver, or brain printed that is exactly what will be in their patient and better understand how to approach a surgery. Polyjet allows for extremely precise detail and vivid color making organs or bone structure super realistic.
3D Printing has become a great teaching tool to Medical students as well. Applications for students generally include practicing resecting and stitching organs on surgical navigation systems using the 3D printed models. Professors can now provide simulations to students of organs that have predetermined surgical road bumps and using these road bumps as opportunities to teach. Polyjet gives the users the ability to change the texture of a print so professors can have models that accurately replicate fat, tissue, and bone. In other training sessions, students can be tested to bind a blood vessel and operate on the organ within a time limit to avoid endangering patient’s health. 3D models can help students understand which blood vessel they need to bind or where to insert a scalpel.
Lastly there is the 3D printing of medical devices. In surgery and medicine, often times the tools doctors need are unique to a patient. 3D printing allows for complex designs without much of the limitations that comes from traditional manufacturing at a fraction of the cost. According to the experts Stratasys “Around the world, growth in medical spending outpaces inflation, and patients are taking on a greater share of the cost and clinical decision making. By adapting agilely and accelerating the pace of innovation, you can improve patient care while sustaining or improving profitability”.