3D printing is a hot topic at this year's Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting in Chicago. I've been involved in medical 3D printing for the past two years, and every month there seems to be more interest. At this year's RSNA meeting, the level of interest is higher than I have ever seen before. There are literally dozens of sessions related to 3D printing in radiology, and they all seem to be very well attended. The Sunday session on "Fundamentals of 3D Printing" had a line out the door and down the hall as shown by the picture below. So many people were standing in the room that they had to close the session due to fire safety limits.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws is the vast array of striking 3D printed models on display from a variety of vendors that offer 3D printing and consulting services. 3D printer manufacturers have been working hard on new and exciting 3D printing materials. As a result, there is now a large selection of materials to choose from, each with a unique set of properties. When the right anatomy, materials, and printers are combined effectively, the models can truly become things of beauty.
While you can't get your hands on the individual models shown here, Embodi3D does maintain a growing library of 3D printable models for you to download and 3D print yourself. I will put links to some of my favorite downloadable files at the end of this article.
Long lines were seen outside of most 3D printing sessions, including this one on Sunday morning.
In this hands-on session which teaches 3D printing software, each of 50 workstations was occupied. There was standing room only in the back of the room.
3D printed model of a kidney with a tumor and blood vessels (pink). This model uses two colors to highlight anatomy. 3D Systems Medical Modeling
3D printed model using colored gypsum powder shows the various structures of the heart. 3D Systems Medical Modeling
A human brain. 3D Systems Medical Modeling
3D model of a spine with severe deformity. 3D Systems Medical Modeling
Multicolor 3D model of the skull, with cut away that shows the cerebral arteries (red) and veins (blue). 3D Systems Medical Modeling
Hollow model of an abdominal aortic aneurysm using two colors. The atherosclerotic calcium is shown in pink. 3D Systems Medical Modeling
This large model of a skull and mandible was designed to demonstrate jaw alignment. 3D Systems Medical Modeling
This transparent brain shows various white matter fiber tracks in different colors, an amazing property of newer 3D printing materials. Stratasys.
Multicolor 3D print of a heart. Stratasys
3D print of heart with detailed pulmonary arteries and veins. Stratasys
3D print of a skull using transparent material. Materialise
Example of 3D printed orthopedic surgery cutting guides used for knee replacement surgery. Materialise
Glass-like 3D print of a pediatric heart. Materialise.
Select 3D Printable files available for free download on Embodi3D.com.
Must register to download. Registration is free and only takes a minute.