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3D Printing Makes Medical Device For Complex Surgical Procedures

Paige Anne Carter

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3D printing has made it possible for researchers to make innovations in the field of science and medicine. Currently, biomechanical engineer Filip Jelinek from the Austrian Center for Medical Innovation and Technology created prototypes for an innovative medical device that can help doctors remove cancerous tissues.

The new medical device will be used to perform a minimally invasive procedure called keyhole operation. With this tool, patients will have faster recovery time and have a small post-operative scar. Dubbed as the DragonFlex, this new tool is a 5-mm wide rolling joint with a cable guide attached to a bolt and wheel mechanism so that it can easily be maneuvered during the operation. It is made from a ceramic-filled epoxy resin while the cables as well as the turnbuckles are made from metal.

This new tool resembles conventional laparoscopic instruments that are used today by surgeons but its smallness makes it more efficient. Moreover, it contains only a few parts unlike conventional laparoscopic devices. The design of the new tool handles fluid effortlessly and it has seven degrees of freedom. It also has high bending stiffness which allows surgeons to flex the tool in the direction that they need.

Currently, this new tool is still a prototype but Jelinek is confident that this will become one of the medical instruments that doctors will be using in the future. He also entertains the possibility of creating a prototype that is cheap as well as disposable thus making it possible for hospitals all over the world to afford this tool.



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