Gone is the time when would-be surgeons have to study human anatomy with the help of a detailed picture of a human heart or with the help of a cadaver heart. This time around, thanks to the invention of 3D printers, trainee surgeons can study a lifelike heart prosthetic—with all the works. This is as close as you can get to a real human heart without a patient, of course.
The creator of this 3D printed prosthetic is Richard Arm of the Nottingham Trent University. The prosthetic is made from a silicone gel material that perfectly mimics the texture of a real human heart along with its inner workings. Unlike other 3D printed prosthetic organs made by previous efforts, Mr. Arm’s model was created with the use of varying blends of silicone gels instead of dry powder.
Through actual CT scans of human hearts, the density of the different part of the prosthetic heart was established. Then with the help of a 3D printer, the data from the CT scan was printed to get a very lifelike heart prosthetic without having to create artificial muscle fibers.
With this breakthrough in creating an artificial and lifelike heart that trainee surgeons can practice on, it opens a lot of possibilities for medical students. It allows them to simulate an operation even as trainee surgeons and be able to feel a lifelike sensation of cutting through a heart and how a heart would look like inside.
To further enhance the realism of a mock operation, the study even looked into plans of pumping an artificial blood through this 3D printed heart.
Image Taken From: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-29047165