The most common applications of 3D printing in medical technology is in orthopedics. However, medical 3D printing has been innovated so that it is now used to create synthetic organs for pathological studies of diseases.
The researchers from the Tulane University School of Medicine have been working with 3D printing to create models of soft tissue tumors. The researchers hope to use the models to study the condition of the soft tissue tumor in their individual patients. The models can also help them create diagnoses and also help plan surgery selection. Researchers have created models of tumor from patients suffering from kidney problems to study the surgical procedures to deal with the problem but put the patients at minimal risks.
The renal model is very realistic and it has the characteristics of the patient’s actual organ. To create the 3D printed model, individual patients need to undergo different types of medical imaging procedures such as CT scan and MRI. Using the images generated, the researchers were able to create a model that has the same size, texture and condition of the patient’s actual kidney.
Another use of this patient-specific soft tissue tumor model is to educate young doctors on how to operate and remove the tumor. Together with radiographic imaging, medical students are taught how to assess the condition, location and properties of the tumor.
With this technology, it is now possible for doctors to perform a “dry run” operation without touching the patient. This will improve their ability to perform the surgical procedures effectively.