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  1. The knee joint is the strongest and the largest joint of the human body. It consists of the lower end of the thighbone, upper end of the shin bone, and the knee cap. The three bones are connected to each other with articular and meniscal cartilages that act as shock absorbers and help protect and cushion the joint. Degeneration of the knee joint due to age and overuse can cause unwanted friction and bone spurs. The condition, also known as osteoarthritis, is the most prevalent form of arthritis and is often seen in individuals over 50 years of age. Osteoarthritis develops slowly and leads to worsening pain and stiffness of the knee joint, grinding or clicking noise during movement, and weakness in the knee. Treatment involves lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and viscosupplementation injections. Patients with severe form of the disease may require a surgical intervention. During the process, the doctor may remove cartilage from another part of the body and place it in the knee or may replace the damaged cartilage with plastic and metal implants. Researchers across the globe are now looking at three-dimensional (3D) medical printing and bioprinting technologies to create highly compatible, patient-specific knee implants that will increase the success rates of total knee arthroplasty by improving patient outcomes and lowering the risks of a revision surgery. Unlike traditional implants that come in a few specific shapes and sizes, 3D printed cartilages can be customized as per the needs of the patient. Surgeons can use the additive printing technology to print larger cartilages as well. The Biopen: A Handheld Bioprinter Used During Operations A team of researchers and surgeons from St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, developed the Biopen, a type of 3D printer that helps doctors create cartilaginous tissue fragments during the actual surgical intervention. The surgeon can customize the size and the shape of the tissue as per the needs of the patient. Researchers predict that the medical-grade plastic and titanium Biopen will lead to 97 percent survival of the cells and will transform knee surgeries forever. This technology may, however, have some drawbacks. The human cartilage is made of only one type of cell. Scientists, therefore, tried to grow the tissue by embedding specific cells in a hydrogel but the liquid medium may restrict cell growth and intercellular communication. Consequently, the new implant may not have the desired mechanical integrity. Additionally, the degradation of the hydrogel may lead to the formation of toxins that would inhibit cell growth. Hence, researchers began looking for other materials to create cartilage implants. A New Bio-ink Holds Promise for Printing Cartilage Scientists at Penn State, under the supervision of Dr. Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, created tiny tubes from algae extracts, injected cow cartilage cells into them, and allowed the tubes to grow for a week to create tiny cartilage strands. A bio-ink made from these strands was fed into a specially designed nozzle of a 3D printer to develop cartilage tissues of the desired size. Although this 3D printed cow cartilage is weaker than its natural counterpart, it is definitely better than the hydrogel version. Dr. Ozbolat believes that the implants will strengthen once they get exposed to the pressure from the joints. His team also hopes to mimic the entire process using human cartilage cells. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in two Americans will be diagnosed with osteoarthritis by the age of 85. An estimated 249,000 children under the age of 18 also suffer from some form of arthritis. Additive printing technology is offering hope to millions of individuals looking to overcome pain and improve quality of life. While most of these products are still at an inceptive stage, researchers are trying to start clinical trials at the earliest and get the required approvals in the not-so-distant future. Sources: https://www.engadget.com/2016/04/04/biopen-lets-doctors-3d-print-cartilage-during-surgery/ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627094828.htm
  2. Defects and deformities of the vertebral column can have a debilitating impact on the patient’s quality of life. Thirteen-year-old Jocelynn Taylor was no different. She was diagnosed with scoliosis, a condition characterized by an abnormally curved spine that may develop in children during one of their growth spurts. Jocelynn’s condition prevented her from being active in school and at home. Her vertebral column was also pushing her lungs and preventing her from breathing normally. 3D Printing Aids in Complex Spinal Surgery Unlike most scoliosis patients, Jocelynn’s curvature extended past 100 degrees and required a complex surgery. Physicians at Children’s Hospital in Colorado took up the challenge under the supervision of Dr. Sumeet Garg. They worked closely with engineers at Mighty Oak Medical to create a specific three-dimensional (3D) model of Jocelynn’s spine. The model helped Dr. Garg with pre-surgical planning. He also practiced the surgery several times prior to the actual procedure and was prepared for any eventuality that could have crop up during the intervention. The surgeon also relied on additive printing technology to print customized brackets to straighten the vertebral column. Since the surgery, Jocelynn has been able to live life to without any restrictions and is immensely excited about the upcoming school year. Dr. Ralph Mobbs, a neurosurgeon at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, worked with an Australian medical device company to print an exact replica of a patient’s cervical spine and its underlying tumor. He used the model to understand the patient’s anatomy and practice the surgical intervention. In the past, doctors usually avoided such procedures as one small mistake could lead to permanent nerve damage and quadriplegia. The 3D model helped Dr. Mobbs successfully remove the patient’s tumor without impacting the surrounding nerves. Approximately 276,000 people across the United States are living with spinal cord injuries. An estimated 7 million people suffer from scoliosis. About 24,000 men and women have malignant tumors in their spinal cord. People also suffer from other spinal conditions such as spondylosis and intervertebral disc degeneration. Additive printing technology is influencing the way doctors approach these conditions and is helping improve patient outcomes significantly. 3D Printing Spinal Implants Spinal tumors have also received a lot of attention in recent times. While their treatment often involves drastic measures, 3D printing is making it easier for patients to recover and rehabilitate quickly after the intervention. For example, surgeons in China had to remove a significant portion of a patient’s backbone along with the tumor to prevent the spread of his cancer. While the patient was able to beat the disease, he was unable to use his legs. Orthopedic surgeons at Beijing’s Third University Hospital, under the supervision of Dr. Liu Zhongjun, 3D printed patient-specific spinal implants to replace five missing vertebrae. The 7.5-inch long titanium mesh constructs allow the patient’s own spinal cord to grow over time, and the implant will automatically biodegrade over time. Although some of these cases have received extensive media attention, they are not the only ones. Doctors across the globe are relying on 3D medical printing and bioprinting technologies to treat and manage many types of spinal conditions. In another important step forward,Oxford Performance Materials (OPM) received the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its spinal implant system designed to replace thoracolumbar vertebrae T10 to L1. The Connecticut-based company is now offering hope to thousands of patients with spinal trauma or cancer. The polymer construct met all the load-bearing and fatigue requirements of the FDA and is now available for patient use through specific distributors. OPM is working to expand its product line to include additional lumbar and cervical vertebrae. Other companies and research organizations are also looking for newer treatments that will help patients lead productive lives, in spite of their spinal problems. Collectively, these attempts will make 3D printing technology indispensable in the not-so-distant future. Sources http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-22/tumour-patient-gets-worlds-first-3d-printed-vertebrae/7183132 http://english.cntv.cn/2014/08/18/VIDE1408306798015287.shtml http://www.tctmagazine.com/3D-printing-news/oxford-performance-materials-gets-fda-approval-for-first-in-kind-spine-fab-3d-printed-127384/
  3. The brain is arguably the most important organ within the human body as it controls major physiological and psychological functions responsible for growth and survival. Several conditions, including cancer, stroke, infections, inflammation, congenital deformities, and Alzheimer’s disease, can impair brain function and lead to serious illnesses and disabilities. Treatments may include medications, surgery and physical therapy among other things. Researchers across the globe are spending millions of dollars to improve patient outcomes and to enhance the quality of life of individuals with brain diseases. Three-dimensional (3D) medical printing and bioprinting are playing a crucial role in identifying new treatments and facilitating the implementation of existing ones. 3D Printing Brain Helps Doctors Treat Patients Human brain is a complex organ made up of over 100 billion neurons that form trillions of connections, known as synapses, to send and receive messages. Each neuron plays a specific role in the body, and minor errors during surgical interventions may lead to serious complications and permanent loss of bodily functions. Neurosurgeons often rely on MRI and CT scan images to understand the anatomy of the patient’s brain and the actual defect. While the images are fairly accurate, they provide limited information and tend to miss crucial aspects of the problem that may impact the surgery. Doctors are looking at 3D printing to increase the chances of a successful outcome. Neurosurgeon Mark Proctor and plastic surgeon John Meara of Boston Children’s Hospital created a 3D model of the brain of an infant, who was born with a part of the tissue outside his skull. The physicians obtained specific measurements of the patient’s brain from scanned images and fed the data into a computer to generate the 3D model. The model helped the doctors study the patient’s abnormality in detail and practice the procedure prior to the actual intervention. Harvard University researchers studied several MRI scans before printing a three-dimensional smooth brain of a fetus, equivalent to the one at 20 weeks of gestation. The researchers, then, coated the 3D-printed brain with a thin layer of gel to the mimic cerebral cortex and placed it in a liquid to study the formation of folds in the brain. The aim was to understand congenital brain folding abnormalities and to help improve life expectancies of babies born with such defects. The use of 3D printing is not limited to the treatment of anatomical abnormalities. Researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh are printing stem cells and other types of cells found in brain tumors using additive printing technology to recreate tumor-like constructs for the laboratory. The multicellular models are being used to study the anatomy and the physiology of brain tumors. Researchers are also relying on them to test new drugs and therapeutics that may finally help cure for this deadly disease. 3D Printed Microchips and Prosthetics Combine for a Sense of Touch Prosthetic arms and limbs have been in use for several decades. However, most devices were clunky and uncomfortable. Three-dimensional medical printing has helped create prosthetics that can be customized to fit the patient perfectly. Modern, robotic versions can also help the patient move the limb as required. St. Vincent’s Hospital’s Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery has coordinated with scientists at University of Melbourne, the University of Wollongong, and several other institutions to take prosthetic arm research to the next level by developing a 3D printed prosthetic arm with a sense of touch. The idea is to establish a direct connection between the prosthetic limb and the patient’s brain. The researchers are relying on 3D printed muscle cells on microchips to communicate with implanted electrodes, natural tissues and cells. A prototype of this robotic arm is expected by the end of 2017. Apart from producing high quality prosthetic arms, this new technology may also help treat other serious illnesses, including epilepsy, by establishing connections between nerve cells and electrodes to translate brain signals. Stroke and Alzheimer’s disease are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, as per American Academy of Neurology. Furthermore, 8 out of 10 diseases found in the World Health Organization’s list of three highest disability classes have a neurological origin. Three-dimensional medical printing and bioprinting are offering novel insights into brain diseases and neurological problems and are allowing scientists and physicians to find cures with a lasting impact. Sources: http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/3d-printed-skull/ http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/brain-cancer-3d-printing/ https://biotechin.asia/2016/06/02/3d-printing-of-brain-tumors-a-step-closer-to-treatment/
  4. Stem cell research has been plagued with innumerable controversies and ethical questions. Most researchers agree that these undifferentiated embryonic cells have the potential to treat serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. They may also help evaluate the impact of new drugs and therapies at the cellular level. Scientists, however, must be able to differentiate the stem cells consistently within a controlled environment to meet their specific needs. Furthermore, obtaining these cells from five to six day old embryos may not be acceptable to everyone. The scientific community is, therefore, looking at three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting to overcome some of the obstacles associated with stem cell research and to make the treatments more accessible, efficient and safe. 3D Printed Stem Cells There have been multiple attempts to print stem cells in the laboratory. Nano Dimension, an Israel-based technology firm, recently filed a patent for 3D printed stem cells. The company collaborated with Accellta, which is known for its stem cell suspension and induced differentiation technologies. Researchers from both organizations worked together to accelerate the printing process with the help of a specially adapted 3D printer that can print billions of high quality stem cells per batch. Nano Dimension believes that its technology can benefit pre-clinical drug discovery and testing, toxicology assays, tissue printing, and transplantation. Previously, scientists at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh created a cell printer that produced living embryonic stem cells. The printer, a modified CNC machine, was fitted with two bio-ink dispensers. The machine dispensed layers of embryonic stem cells and nutrient media in a specific pattern that was ideal for differentiation. In another study, researchers at Tsingua University in China and Drexel University in Philadelphia developed homogenous embryoid bodies using the 3D printing technology. The process mimicked early stages of embryo formation that involves clumping of the pluripotent stem cells. Researchers of this study believe that these little building blocks will pave way for the creation of larger, heterogeneous embryoid bodies. Recent Applications of 3D Bioprinting Bioprinted 3D stem cells are also being used to treat a variety of conditions. For example, researchers at ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science and Orthopedicians at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, have developed a 3D printing pen that allows surgeons to create customized cartilage implants from human stem cells during the surgery. The handheld device offers unprecedented control and accuracy. The pen works by extruding the patient’s own stem cells along with a hydrogel. The cartilage tissue has a 97 percent survival rate and can heal the body over time. Researchers believe that this technology can also be used to create skin fragments, muscles and bone structures. As part of the MESO-BRAIN initiative, led by Aston University, scientists differentiated human pluripotent stem cells into specific neurons on a specially defined 3D printed scaffold. The final structure was based on the outer layer of the cerebrum and included nanoelectrodes that enabled electrophysiological function of the neural network. The technology will help develop cellular structures for pharmacological testing and help find cures for complicated mental illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Three-dimensional bioprinting technology is growing at a rapid pace, and scientists are using it to print stem cells as well. The 3D printed versions resemble the actual stem cells in structure and function without some of the drawbacks. Scientists and healthcare professionals across the globe are, therefore, excited about the limitless possibilities of 3D printing and its impact on stem cell research. Sources: http://www.tctmagazine.com/3D-printing-news/nano-dimension-accellta-3d-bioprinter-stem-cells/ http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-found-a-way-to-3d-print-embryonic-stem-cell-building-blocks
  5. The removal and reconstruction of a large part of the chest wall is often required to treat malignant tumors that occur in the cartilage or bone of the ribcage. However, the potential for complications in these types of surgeries is unacceptably high—the overall complication rate is over 40% and the 30-day mortality rate is up to 17%. Many of the complications are respiratory-related. A team of doctors at Asturias University Central Hospital, in Asturias, Spain suspected that the patients’ difficulty breathing resulted from the stiffness of the implants. They performed a surgery using 3D printed titanium rib implant designed to be more flexible. Using 3D printing to produce rib implants to replace parts of the ribcage is not new. A world-first surgery with a 3D printed implant was also performed about a year ago, also in Spain, according to articles published in Forbes and Gizmodo (entry image credit). Because each person’s ribcage structure is unique, using 3D printing to produce such implants has the obvious advantage of producing an exact replica. Both implants were made using information from a CT scan, and printed using the same technique—layer-by-layer electron beam melting starting with titanium powder in a high vacuum by an Arcam Q10 printer. In this more recent surgery, the doctors made the implant less rigid by incorporating articulations as shown in the figure, on the right side of the implant. As you can see such a complicated object could only be created in one piece using 3D printing techniques. They published their findings in the Journal of Thoracic Disease. Picture of titanium rib implant, Journal of Thoracic Disease The 57 year old male patient regained normal function after six weeks without complications. CT scan eight weeks after surgery, Journal of Thoracic Disease
  6. Since the 1970s, modern dental implants have helped millions of patients suffering from tooth loss due to periodontal diseases and injuries. Their success encouraged researchers and dental professionals to come up with newer designs to improve patient care. As three-dimensional (3D) printing became more efficient and accessible, dental professionals also began using the technology to create customized dental implants. Recent Developments of 3D Printing in Dentistry Most 3D printers use additive manufacturing technology, which allows dental laboratory technologists to deposit desired materials on a substrate in a specific pattern. The technologists scan the patient’s jaw to obtain specific measurements and enter the data into a computer. The printer uses this data to create customized implants with unprecedented accuracy and fit. Maxillofacial surgeons at Baruch Padeh Medical Center and A. B. Dental created 3D printed titanium implants to help a 64-year-old man suffering from a metastatic tumor at the back of his jaw. The condition affects 1 to 1.5 percent of people suffering from malignant tumors and is characterized by pain, difficulty chewing and disfigurement. The 3D printed custom-made implants reduced recovery time after the surgery and helped enhance the patient’s quality of life. As part of another revolutionary research study, scientists from University of Groningen in the Netherlands have developed 3D printed teeth using antimicrobial polymers. These replacement teeth and veneers contain positively charged resin groups that kill the bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, by producing holes in its cell membrane. Analysis within the laboratory indicated that the treated new teeth suppressed the growth of pathogenic bacteria by almost 99 percent when compared to their untreated counterparts. Additionally, these teeth are made from inexpensive polymers that are readily available. In another pioneering attempt, researchers at University of Louisville recently developed a fully digital dental surgery protocol using 3D scanning, CNC milling and 3D printing to restore lost teeth. This new procedure skipped several steps from the existing implant manufacturing techniques and thereby, made the surgical intervention more efficient and accurate. The researchers used a 3D scan to obtain specific measurements of the missing teeth and relied on a CNC mill to generate the implant. They created an exact replica of the patient’s oral cavity with a 3D printer to guide the dentist during the actual surgery. Benefits of 3D Printed Implants While the above-mentioned examples offer insights into the rapidly growing field of 3D printed dental implants, multiple new inventions are happening as we speak. The ultimate aim is to overcome the drawbacks associated with traditional dental implants, which involve complex and invasive surgical interventions that are time-consuming and risky. The newer 3D printed implants allow dentists to replace lost teeth with pinpoint accuracy and minimal discomfort. The technology also allows surgeons to customize the implants as per the specific needs of the patient for more aesthetic results. Laboratory professionals can generate dental models and implants at a faster rate, thereby lowering the wait time for the patients. More than 30 million Americans are missing all teeth from one or both jaws, as per the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Over 3 million people have dental implants at this time, and this number is increasing by 500,000 each year. Dental surgeons across the globe hope that 3D printed implants will make treatment more accessible, safe and cost-effective for all the patients, and thereby, help them overcome tooth loss with dignity. Sources: http://www.stratasys.com/resources/case-studies/dental/oratio-bv http://www.thejpd.org/article/S0022-3913%2816%2900031-7/abstract http://www.gizmag.com/3d-printer-teeth-kill-bacteria/40161/ http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/these-3d-printed-teeth-fight-bacteria-180957030/?no-ist
  7. Casey Steffen has a background in video game animation and a Master’s degree in biological visualization but he describes himself as a “medical illustrator and a type I diabetic” in the video introduction to his RocketHub crowdfunding page, that raised money to support a project to make educational models of the protein hemoglobin, that has 4,659 atoms. The proposal was completely funded two years ago. The project addresses confusion surrounding the common hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test. Unlike the blood sugar measurement, it represents the average over three months (the lifetime of a red blood cell) of the fraction of bloodstream HbA1c (hemoglobin with sugar molecules attached as shown in the the models). If this number is above a certain range (7% for people with diabetes, according to WebMD) it means blood sugar has not been well controlled. A higher number is indicative of prolonged elevated blood sugar. It’s used for long term tracking of how patients manage their blood sugar. The hemoglobin models provide patients with a physical and visual representation of what the test means, so they can better understand what’s going on in their body, and why it’s important to control their blood sugar. An elevated blood sugar causes damage to certain tissues, like the eyes and blood vessels in the feet, slowly, over a long period of time. To get the hemoglobin models right, Steffen collaborated with Patricia Weber, a structural biologist and Mary Vouyiouklis, his endocrinologist. When Steffen met Michael Gulen, who was a prototype development director at a company that makes action figures, a collaboration was born. Wired Magazine covered their story about five years ago. Steffen’s company, Biologic Models, makes models of proteins for scientific and medical education. The physical models of proteins are created from x-ray crystallography data sets. For some of the models, like the hemoglobin ones, 3D printing from a Form 1 3D printer serves to make the prototype for plaster molds, to finally cast the models in silicone. The company partners with the 3D printing company Shapeways to print several proteins including the Zika virus shell and the Ebola virus ectodomain (the part that fuses to the cell membrane). Digital preview of Zika virus shell Ebola virus ectodomain Customers can also choose to have the company provide a plan for 3D printing their favorite protein by providing its PDB ID from the protein data bank, a resource of protein structure x-ray crystallography data. Customers can then have it 3D printed or print it themselves. Based on a post from formlabs.
  8. 60 downloads

    This STL file is related to another set of files demonstrating the congenital heart defect double aortic arch. This heart STL file demonstrates double aortic arch blood pool. Double aortic arch is one of the 2 most common forms of vascular ring, a class of congenital anomalies of the aortic arch system in which the trachea and esophagus are completely encircled by connected segments of the aortic arch and its branches. Although the double aortic arch has various forms, the common defining feature is that both the left and right aortic arches are present. There is one STL file for 3D printing the whole congenital heart defect model double aortic arch with blood pool. The model is provided for distribution on Embodi3D with the permission of the author, pediatric cardiologist Dr. Matthew Bramlet, MD, and is part of the Congenital Heart Defects library. We thank Dr. Bramlet and all others who are working to help children with congenital heart problems lead normal and happy lives. It is distributed by Dr. Bramlet under the Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs. Please respect the terms of the licensing agreement.

    Free

  9. Just read this very interesting article. I think the article oversimplifies the situation a bit, as the system seems to be designed primarily for cardiac MR angiography and not for MRIs in general, but nonetheless, it is an impressive advance. http://news.mit.edu/2015/3-d-printed-heart-models-surgery-0917
  10. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just released guidance on the use of 3D printing for medical purposes in the USA. http://threedmedprint.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41205-016-0005-9 I am particularly interested in how the FDA approval applies to software used to generate models that are used for surgical planning but not diagnostic purposes? It seems, from the article, that if the purpose of the 3D printed model is merely for thinking about or planning a surgery, it is a "visual aid" and FDA approved software is not required. The technical term is a "medical image hardcopy device," examples of which are laser printers and cameras. If it is used for diagnosis, then it should be discussed with the FDA. And if use for implantable medical devices or surgical cutting guides (i.e. stuff that touches the patient), then the whole process is under FDA approval. This correlates to what the paper's first author (Matthew Di Prima from FDA) said at the 2015 Bioinformatics Festival during this talk. Key part is at 4:41. https://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?Live=15417&bhcp=1 Anyone have any thoughts about this?
  11. Broken bones can be immensely painful and debilitating. Broken bones account for over 6.8 million medical treatments each year at various hospitals, emergency rooms and doctor's offices across the United States. Most minor fractures can be treated using casts, braces and traction devices. Occasionally, surgeons also replace the broken or missing bone fragments using bone grafts. Grafts may be derived from the patient's own body (autografts) or from a donor (allografts). Although autografts and allografts have been in use for decades, they have several disadvantages. It is often difficult to find a compatible bone fragment. Furthermore, these implants degenerate with time, and most patients require a replacement surgery after 10 or 15 years. This surgery can worsen pain and lead to other complications, especially in the elderly. Three-dimensional Bone Grafts To overcome some of these deficiencies, researchers at University of Toronto, under the supervision of Professor Bob Pilliar, began looking for special compounds that can be used to form artificial bone grafts and fragments. They discovered calcium polyphosphate that makes up approximately 70 percent of a natural bone. Mihaela Vlasea, a mechatronic engineer at University of Waterloo, then developed an indigenous 3D printer that uses ultraviolet rays and light-reactive binding agents to fuse the calcium polyphosphate molecules into bone fragments. The implant has a porous structure that allows the real tissue to grow over time. Subsequently, the implant is broken down naturally in the patient's body. Apart from treating fractures, this technology can also be used to produce replacement joints and cartilages for arthritis patients. The porous nature of the 3-D printed grafts, however, makes them brittle and unmanageable at times. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University are working to further strengthen the bone implants by growing unique crystal structures within the bone scaffold at sub-zero temperatures. This technique may also reduce the time required to print the bone fragments. Talus Bone Surgeries Some healthcare professionals are already using 3D printing technology in patients. Dr. Mark Myerson, an orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Hospital, Baltimore, relies on 3D printing services offered by 4Web Medical to create customized ankle bones that can be implanted into the patient's feet to replace a broken ankle. He has used this technology to help patients with talus bone fractures, who tend to lose blood circulation in the area. Consequently, the bone dies and begins to crumble leading to a flat and painful ankle. 4Web Medical uses CT scans of the opposite (normal) foot to get the dimensions and the specific shape of the bone. It feeds this information into a computer and uses a 3D printer to produce a compatible implant. Dr. Myerson places these implants in the patient's ankles. The intervention has helped patients regain 50 to 75 percent of their ankle function. The field of 3D bioprinting and medical 3D printing is still in its infancy. Scientists across the globe are investing significant amount of time, money and effort to develop more efficient and cost-effective techniques. Many products are undergoing clinical trials. Three-dimensional bones will soon be accessible to millions of patients suffering from bone fractures and bone defects. Image Credit : mdmercy.com
  12. Organ transplantations and surgical reconstructions using autografts and allografts have always been challenging. Apart from the complexity of the procedure, healthcare professionals also have difficulty finding compatible donors. Autografts derived from one part of the body may not fit in completely at the new location causing instability and discomfort. As per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 22 people die each day due to a shortage of transplantable organs. Creating more awareness about organ donation is only part of the solution. Researchers have to look for other alternatives, and this is where technologies such as three-dimensional medical printing and bioprinting are making an impact. Integrated Tissue-Organ Printing System (ITOP) Millions of dollars are being invested to develop technologies that will help healthcare professionals print muscles, bones and cartilages using a printer and transplant them directly into patients. The ITOP system is a big step in that direction. It was developed by researchers at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. They used a special biodegradable plastic material to form the tissue shape, a water-based gel to contain the cells, and a temporary outer structure to maintain shape during the actual printing process. The scientists extracted a small part of tissue from the human body and allowed its cells to replicate in vitro before placing them in the bioprinter to generate bigger structures. Unlike other 3-D printers, the ITOP system can print large tissues with an internal latticework of valleys that allows the flow nutrients and fluids. As a result, the tissue can survive for months in a nutrient medium prior to implantation. Researchers have used this technology to develop mandible and calvarial bones, cartilages and skeletal muscles. The goal is to create more complex replacement tissues and organs to offset the shortage of transplantable body parts. Polylaprocaptone Bone Scaffolds Researchers at John Hopkins are also developing 3-D printable bone scaffolds that can be placed in the human body. Their ingredients include a biodegradable polyester, known as Polylaprocaptone, and pulverized natural bone material. Polylaprocaptone has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for other clinical applications. Researchers combined it with natural bone powder and special nutritional broth for cell development. The cells were added to a 3-D printer to generate bone scaffolds, which have been successfully implanted into animal models. Researchers at John Hopkins are now looking for the perfect ratio of Polylaprocaptone and bone powder that will produce consistent results. They will subsequently test their scaffolds in humans as well. More studies are being done as we speak. Many surgeons have also started using 3-D printed tissues and bones to help their patients. In the next few years, this technology will become more accessible, affordable and effective and may change medicine forever. Sources: Photo Credit: Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Scientists 3D Print Transplantable Human Bone
  13. Imagine an orthopedic surgeon printing customized ankle bones with a printer and implanting them into patients to help them walk again. Consider a surgeon printing reconstructive wedges for an ankle surgery in his office and using them to replace staples, screws and plates. While these scenarios may seem like science fiction, advances in 3-dimensional medical printing are turning them into reality. The human ankle is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and almost 100 muscles. Together, these components bear a significant portion of the body weight and are exposed to a lot of wear and tear. Ankle problems, such as arthritis, can be immensely painful and debilitating. The condition impacts about 1 – 4 percent of the population, as per an article published in the 2010 edition of the journal Current Opinion in Rheumatology. Conservative treatments include medications, physical therapy and devices. If these treatments fail, the patient may require surgical interventions such as arthroscopic debridement or arthrodesis. Current Innovations Arthrodesis involves the fusion of ankle bones using screws and plates. The patients may also require bone grafts occasionally, which can get cumbersome and painful. Zimmer Biomet, a prominent name in reconstructive orthopedic industry, has created an innovative solution with 3-dimensional bioprinting technology. The company's Unite3D Bridge Fixation System consists of an “osteoconductive matrix” of biocompatible materials that mimics the ankle bones accurately and gets absorbed into the patient's body immediately. Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Greg Pomeroy of New England Foot and Ankle Specialists and Dr. John Early from Texas Orthopaedic Associates developed this system using Zimmer Biomet's proprietary OsseoTi material. The implants are available in nine different sizes to meet the needs of the patient. They also come with single-use surgical instruments. In 2014, Dr. Marvin Brown of San Antonio Orthopedic Group in Texas used a 3-dimensional printer to obtain components and appropriate instrument guides for an ankle replacement surgery. The surgeon combined a modular prosthetic called Inbone and the bioprinted components effectively to help a patient recover from severe arthritic pain and injury. After the surgical intervention, the patient was able to walk with minimal pain. The new ankle is expected to last for 10 years. Image Source: The Potential of 3D Printing in Podiatry Most experts agree that these examples only form the tip of the iceberg. Three-dimensional bioprinting has the potential to revolutionize the field of podiatry. Current technology allows scientists to print high quality human hyaline cartilage consistently, and studies have shown that these single-celled chondrocyte structures can help treat osteoarthritis routinely using joint replacement surgeries. Bioprinting can also help print autografts of the required size thereby, reducing the need for extracting tissues from donor sites. Healthcare professionals and researchers are immensely hopeful of impact that 3-D bioprinting will have on ankle conditions. More research is being done to come up with effective solutions that are affordably priced as well. Soon, complications associated with ankle surgeries may be a thing of the past. Source: What 3D Bioprinting Technology Means For Podiatry
  14. In this article published on the RSNA website, leaders in the field of Radiology cite cost and training as major barriers to widespread use of 3D printing technologies in medicine. By providing online tutorials on using free software, Embodi3D is trying to reduce these barriers and bring the benefits of 3D printing to the biomedical community. Can anybody else identify barriers to wider adoption?
  15. Brain tumors located at the base of the skull are some of the most challenging to treat, because of their proximity to the brain stem, as well as important nerves and blood vessels in the head and neck (Johns Hopkins). The brain stem maintains breathing and heartbeat, the basics of life. Tumors found here are known as “skull base tumors” based on their location, not the type of tumor. A group of doctors at Toho University Omori Medical Center in Tokyo, Japan, hope to improve surgical models for skull base tumors. 3D printed models are often made from opaque materials such as plaster, which make it difficult to visualize the essential brain structures. The doctors’ idea was to develop a surgical model where the tumor was made from a mesh structure. First they had to design the mesh. They made a series of objects with different spacing between the mesh and different mesh thickness. They made 20 trials of each structure, a total of 400 models. Once they decided which mesh provided the most transparency and structural integrity (they chose the one in the photo below), they proceeded to test the tumor models. Image Credit: Acta Neurochirurgica To make the all the models, the researchers used the Z Printer 450 from 3D systems which uses binder jetting, where layers of a plaster powder are fused with a binding agent to make the model. The models were then coated in paraffin wax to make them more durable. Once they decided on which grid to use for the tumor models, models were made from brain scans taken of four patients between 2007 and 2014. The imaging used for each patient was CT angiography (CTA) for the skull, MRI for the tumor and brainstem, and 3D digital subtraction angiography (DSA) for the blood vessels. Twelve neurosurgeons (the authors of the study) evaluated models based on the visibility of the various brain structures comparing a solid tumor, a mesh tumor, and no tumor. (see photo above) They determined that they the mesh tumor structure enabled them to both visualize the deep brain structures, and also understand the spatial relationships between those structures and the tumor. The method was limited by the physical vulnerability of the mesh and the difficulty of judging the surface of the mesh tumor compared to the solid tumor model. The authors expected improvements in 3D printing technology to enable thinner mesh as well as translucent material. Kosuke Kono et al. published a paper describing their study online two weeks ago in Acta Neurochirurgica: The European Journal of Neurosurgery.
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    Ventricular Septal Defect or VSD is a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of the heart. Ventricular Septal Defect is a common heart defect that's present at birth (congenital). In normal development, the wall between the chambers closes before the fetus is born, so that by birth, oxygen-rich blood is kept from mixing with the oxygen-poor blood. When the hole does not close, it may cause higher pressure in the heart or reduced oxygen to the body. A small ventricular septal defect may cause no problems, and many small VSDs close on their own. Larger VSDs need surgical repair early in life to prevent complications. These STL files are derived from a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of a 3 year old girl with complex perimembranous to muscular VSD with band dividing it into a large anterior component and smaller posterior component. There are 3 separate files as well as an STL file for 3D printing the whole model at once. The three STL files have been zipped and available for download. Alternatively, one STL file representing the whole model is also available for download. The three part model has holes for magnets, which can be used to connect and separate the pieces. The model is provided for distribution on Embodi3D with the permission of the author, pediatric cardiologist Dr. Matthew Bramlet, MD, and is part of the Congenital Heart Defects library. We thank Dr. Bramlet and all others who are working to help children with congenital heart problems lead normal and happy lives. It is distributed by Dr. Bramlet under the Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs. Please respect the terms of the licensing agreement. A US quarter is shown for scale in the images below.

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  17. Cassidy, a tuxedo kitten with a white mustache and socks, lost his hind limbs from below the knee at birth. When he was found starving after nine weeks, his wounds infected with E. coli, the emergency vet recommended euthanasia. But Shelly Roche refused to give up on him. She runs the TinyKittens rescue operated out of Fort Langley, B.C., Canada, that specializes in lost causes. She nursed him back to health, with the Internet cheering him on. This video shows Cassidy walking with a leash and harness to hold up his rear end, then getting a little wheelchair and finally running around and bounding off his rear leg stumps. Cassidy as a young kitten trying his 3D printed wheelchair. Photo credit: CatChannel.com Two local high school students made him a wheelchair using their school’s 3D printer. This was not the last time 3D printing would help Cassidy. Handicapped Pets Canada also provided one that he used up until recently. Now that Cassidy has outgrown his wheelchairs, he gets around riding Roche’s Roomba. But the Roomba is only a temporary solution. Cassidy is being fitted for prosthetic leg extensions. Last week, in the first step toward receiving prosthetics, Cassidy got Botox injections to relax the muscles of his rear legs, for ongoing physical therapy. Roche said of Cassidy’s prosthetics, "I'm not sure if they use titanium or carbon fiber. I'm not sure what the end-point will be. I tell people he's going to get fancy new bionic legs." That will be up to Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little and the team at North Carolina State University working on Cassidy’s prosthetics. Marcellin-Little is an expert in custom prosthetics and physical therapy. Like a real-life Dr. House for dogs and cats, Dr. Marcellin-Little gets the most challenging cases, where existing methods cannot provide treatment, so he and an international team of collaborators develop new ones. The process for building a custom implant starts with a CT scan. Then, 3D-printed models of bones may be made. Marcellin-Little has over a decade-long collaboration with Dr. Ola Harrysson of the department of Industrial Systems and Engineering building implants. Marcellin-Little and Harrysson have invented a technique called osseointegration, where a titanium implant gets attached directly to bone via a honeycombed surface the bone grows to fill. The implant itself is made using a type of metal 3D printing called electron beam melting (EBM) where titanium powder is melted in successive layers to make the object. Several news articles have mentioned the cost of Cassidy’s care. $10,000 has been spent on Cassidy already. The implant procedures can cost up to $20,000 per leg. The procedure does not only benefit a single animal. Marcellin-Little talks of translating the technique to human patients “All the progress we make in free-form fabrication very quickly gets translated to human prosthetic research. Free-form transdermal osseointegration will cross over at some point to human patients.”
  18. Professor Noel Fitzpatrick is one of the most prominent doctors of veterinary medicine in the UK. Featured on the show The Supervet on Channel 4, Fitzpatrick performs live-saving operations for people’s beloved pets, often making use of advanced technologies like 3D printing in his procedures. Despite his skills, Fitzpatrick says whether or not to keep animals alive is a moral decision, more than a scientific assessment. He says that 3D printing and other technological advancements have made it so he can cure nearly any pet’s ailment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he should. Fitzpatrick told recently that he and other vets have an obligation to focus on the value their services bring to the pet’s future quality of life before deciding to subject them to invasive surgeries. His veterinary practice located in Surrey has been among the first to use advanced medical techniques such as creating bionic legs for people’s pets. He also said that no matter how much money he might receive by performing complex operations, he takes the time to consider which outcome will be best for the animal before agreeing to do it. He said, “The bottom line now is that anything is possible, if you have a blood and nerve supply.” “That means that we now have a line in the sand: not what is ‘possible’ but what is ‘right.’ In the past it was just the case of if it wasn't possible, you'd move to euthanasia.” Dr. Fitzpatrick said ever since he began using 3D printed joints with living tissue as part of his procedures, he spends every day walking a moral tightrope. At the same time, he thinks animals are very deserving of the most modern medical technologies, given the role they played in drug and medical testing for human medicine historically. “They've given us all their lives for research, quite simply it's time to give something back.” The Supervet is returning to TV with a new series featuring Dr. Fitzpatrick’s treatment of Jersey, the first three-legged cat to ever have a hip replacement. Jersey lost a leg after being hit by a car. Fitzpatrick needed to create a new hip that moved in a unique way so she could balance on three legs alone. He said, “It was a sweet cat. She had a slipping kneecap and really severe hip arthritis. Most cats can manage three legs but this one couldn’t." Jersey’s medications weren’t helping her, which is why her owner wanted to pursue a compete hip replacement. Dr. Fitzpatrick said, “It would have been easy to put her to sleep. Was that the right choice? The other options for pain control were suboptimal. But it worked.” Jersey’s story is just one of many unique cases featured on The Supervet, often involving novel medical solutions with the help of 3D printing. Image Credits: DailyMail, Supervet
  19. The rugged, replaceable, customizable, lightweight, and low cost nature of 3D printing technology make it ideal to make prosthetics for children, who quickly outgrow and/or wear them out. E-nable is an online community of volunteers, parents, makers, and medical professionals committed to providing 3D printed prosthetics to children who need them. Dr. Gloria Gogola, a pediatric hand surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Houston collaborated with E-nable and volunteer bioengineering students and faculty from Rice University to help children and parents build their own prosthetics. She published a paper along with two other researchers last week summarizing their work in The Journal of Hand Surgery to explain the advantages of using 3D printing for children’s prosthetics to other surgeons. At almost a hundredth of the cost of traditional prosthetics, for $50 as opposed to $4,000, they are comparable to the price of a pair of shoes. A recent Upworthy story told the “origin story” of E-nable. Blogger cdmalcolm gave an overview of E-nable’s charity work in a post for Embodi3D about a year ago. Since then, membership in the E-nable Google+ group has doubled, reaching over 8,000 members as of this publication. They have brought hands to 40 countries around the world, providing them for free to children in need. The recent story of four-year-old Anthony from Chile posted on enablingthefuture.org’s blog illustrates the process each child follows to get a new hand. Because Anthony does not have a wrist, the joint powering most of E-nable’s devices, he needed an elbow actuated device. Anthony’s mother took his measurements and decided with the volunteers’ help that the Team Unlimbited Arm was the best fit. Parents and children can also choose to help design, customize, print, and build the hands themselves. According to Jon Schull, the founder of E-nable, they take about three hours to print, and two hours to build, for $5 worth of raw material. Two big repositories for free designs are available from the National Institutes of Health and Enablingthefuture.org. Volunteers helped print the arm and gave it to Anthony for a trial period to test the fit. They realized a he needed a thermoplastic cast for a comfortable, snug fit on his small arm. Volunteer Francisco Nilo and Anthony sharing an obligatory fistbump. Photo credit: ProHand3D and Enablingthefuture.org Coordinating was challenging as Anthony lived in Valparaiso, on the Pacific coast, a two hour drive northwest of Santiago, where the volunteers and 3D printing company, ProHand3D, were located. Finally, local Santiago tattoo artist and illustrator Cesar Castillo painted the device with Spider Man designs, Anthony’s favorite superhero. Final Spider-Man arm. Photo credit: ProHand3D and Enablingthefuture.org To continue with more fun themes, in January of this year E-nable began having design contests every month. This month’s theme is Steampunk and the winner will receive copperfill and bronzefill filament coils, social media fame, and have their device displayed at the Maker Faire in Nantes, France. Past themes included Star Wars and task-specific devices. Each hand is as unique as its child owner. Chile volunteer Francisco Nilo said of Anthony, “His mom shared with us that since Anthony received his Spiderman arm, he uses it all the time, even for sleeping! We know no one uses these devices all day long, but perhaps the superhero design has influenced him just a bit!” People interested in volunteering for E-nable or those interested in procuring a prosthetic hand for a child may visit http://enablingthefuture.org/ and contact letsgetstarted@enablingthefuture.org
  20. Researchers from the Department of Biology at the University of Oregon, Eugene, have come up with an innovative use of 3D printing to study the biology of flower mimicry. One of their models was the “Dracula Orchid” (Dracula effleurii). Despite its vampiric name, the flower is not carnivorous. They attract flies as pollinators, not food. Dracula here means “little dragon,” referring to their appearance. Bitty Roy, the principle investigator on the study, described the pollination process: "What the orchid wants the fly to do when it arrives is to crawl into the column, whereupon the orchid sticks a pollinium (mass of pollen) onto the fly so that the fly can't possibly get it off. The fly then goes to another orchid, which then pulls it off." The researchers travelled to Ecuador, South America, to study the orchids and their fly pollinators in the wild. Roy also put the study into a larger evolutionary and ecological context: "Mimicry is one of the best examples of natural selection that we have," she said. "How mimicry evolves is a big question in evolutionary biology. In this case, there are about 150 species of these orchids. How are they pollinated? What sorts of connections are there? It's a case where these orchids plug into an entire endangered system. This work was done in the last unlogged watershed in western Ecuador, where cloud forests are disappearing at an alarming rate." Roy and her research team wanted to know whether the different visual parts of the flower, its scent, or a combination of both, were responsible for attracting the flies. They presented their results in a paper published last month in The New Phytologist. "Dracula orchids look and smell like mushrooms. We wanted to understand what it is about the flowers that is attractive to these mushroom-visiting flies," said Tobias Policha, the lead author of the paper. The researchers designed their study to separate out the different parts of the flower: the triangular outer part (the calyx) and the inner pouch-shaped part (the labellum). From upper left, counter-clockwise: completely artificial flower, completely real flower; real calyx, artificial labellum; artificial calyx, real labellum. Photo credit: Aleah Davis To manufacture the artificial flowers, the team collaborated with Melinda Barnadas, co-owner of Magpie Studios, an arts studio expert in creating scientific art and models for museums. The process to make the artificial flowers had several steps: casting the real flowers in impression molds, making a positive plaster cast of the molds, digitally scanning the cast, then 3D printing the files using a Zcorp Spectrum 510 printer. Finally the 3D-printed molds served to cast the flowers from medical grade, scentless silicon. The color was done using dye encapsulated in silicon, so the flies couldn’t smell it. Real flower, on left, and a series of artificial flowers, created from 3D printed molds, in decreasing order of fly attractiveness. Image from research paper. As a result of this study the researchers found that the flies were most attracted to the scented labellum. They hope their idea will be used in other studies where genetically modifiable models are not available. Quotes from researchers pulled from the press release at EurekaAlert!
  21. 153 downloads

    Chronic kidney disease is the progressive loss of kidney function over a period of months or years. It is estimated that chronic kidney disease affects five to ten percent of world population. Chronic kidney disease is also known as chronic renal disease and affects about 26 million American adults and millions of others are at increased risk. Risk factors for chronic kidney disease include diabetes and high blood pressure. As kidney disease gets worse, wastes build to high levels in blood and make people feel sick. They may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases the risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse.Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best test to measure kidney function and GFR is used to determine the stage of kidney disease. These kidney models are provided for distribution on embodi3D.com with the permission of the creators Dr. Beth Ripley and Dr. Tatiana. These models are part of the Top 10 Killers 3D printable disease library. James Weaver and Ahmed Hosny also contributed to the project. We thank everyone involved for their contributions to embodi3d.com and their advocacy for better health and education through 3D printing. There are several kidney STL files to download. One set of files is for bioprinting a normal kidney. The other set of files is for 3D printing a model representing chronic kidney disease including files for abnormal ureters and cortex. The files have been zipped to save space and speed up downloads. These files are distributed under the Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs. Please respect the terms of the licensing agreement.

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  22. This week cdmalcolm posted a great article here at Embodi3d.com on how 3D-printed replicas of patient’s organs are helping surgeons plan for complicated operations. Today I'd like to supplement this topic by talking about the advances 3D printing can bring to medical education, specifically by recreating human models for students to study and dissect. Currently, the golden standard for teaching medical students the anatomy (overall structure) of the human body involves dissecting and observing cadavers – recently deceased humans who have given their bodies to science. However, obtaining and storing these bodies can be difficult for a number of reasons. For example, many cultural and religious beliefs preclude people from donating their bodies, and even in countries with strong donation programs bodies with rare diseases (by their very definition) are hard to find. Even when sufficient cadavers are donated, the process of preserving them to prevent natural decomposition can be costly. New technology comprising a mixed approach of 3D printing and traditional manufacturing can solve many of these problems by recreating accurate and numerous replicas of human anatomy with minimal expense. A recent publication in the January/Februrary edition of the journal “Anatomical Sciences Education” highlighted a prototype for this technology; the team from The University College Dublin in Ireland were able to recreate a portion of the hip, with 3D-printed bone and blood vessels surrounded by a flesh-like filler and covered in a synthetic skin. On top of this, they were able to connect a pump to the blood vessels to mimic the typical human circulatory system. The result wasn't fancy - the components were placed in a Tupperware container with holes for the tubing - but it had most of the necessary components for students to learn, and more importantly, obtain valuable practical experience. The advantage of using 3D printing for these models is that they can be changed to reflect the anatomy of specific diseases. For example, atherosclerosis occurs when blood vessels narrow, and it is an important factor in heart disease. In the prototype above, the team were able to 3D-print replicas of blood vessels from a healthy patient, and one with atherosclerosis - the vessels with atherosclerosis were a lot thicker, and students were able to assess this using ultrasound. The students were also able to perform basic techniques to locate the vessels via syringe, similar to how they may be required to set up an IV drip. And since the models only need to mimic the qualities of human organs rather than making functional tissue (see my previous article on the challenges of this), the models can be made relatively simply, and from materials that do not degrade over time like human flesh does. It might seem like a reconstruction of the human body would never be able to replicate the experience of learning from a true human body, however the results of the study above and previous work by The Centre for Human Anatomy Education in Australia showed that 3D printed models are just as good as cadavers for teaching students the principles of anatomy. And thus the future of manufactured lifelike bodies for teaching seems bright - indeed, one could imagine that many trending technologies could be integrated with these models to provide teaching experiences that surpass the current standard delivered by cadavers. Digital sensors are rapidly becoming cheaper and more ubiquitous in technology, and these could be incorporated into anatomical models to provide feedback to students during practical tasks. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are also trending with many potential application for medicine. Perhaps in the future, manufactured human anatomical models will be integrated with AR, in a way that replicates the experience of operating on real-life patients. And so, 3D printing technology seems poised to replace the long-standing use of cadavers for medical education, and soon many medical students will be able to sigh with relief at not having to prepare themselves to touch and dissect decomposing, smelly bodies. The inexpensive production of realistic bodies will give students better access to practical hands-on education, better preparing them for their eventual roles dealing with real patients. Image Credits: Simulab The Verge Pacific Vascular
  23. I just finished a 3D print of a rather large AAA. I think it turned out alright. Any thoughts? Anyone else doing work like this?
  24. Many doctors these days are now including 3D printing as part of their many surgical procedures. Dr. Jamie Levine from NYU Langone noted that there is a paradigm shift when it comes to doing surgical procedure in terms of using and relying on 3D printing. A lot of hospitals all over the United States have already embraced 3D printing to create tools, models or craft tissues used for surgery. One of the hospitals that are leading the paradigm shift is the Institute for Reconstructive Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone. The surgeons from NYU Langone use special printers to create tools and 3D models that can save doctors from performing long and expensive surgeries. In fact, the hospital is able to save $20,000 to $30,000 for every reconstruction that the do. The use of 3D printing in medical technology is very promising. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has already approved the creation of 3D printed pills and vertebrae. There are also many researchers all over the world working with 3D printed organs to be used in organ transplantation. Although medical-grade 3D printers still remain expensive, they can make infinite types of objects like surgical tools, anatomical models and other devices. Fortunately, there are now many companies that are developing cost-effective printers thus the cost is targeted to go down in the future. There is a wide potential for innovation when it comes to using the 3D printing technology. With this technology, it is no wonder if many hospitals all over the world will rely on 3D printing technology to treat different diseases.
  25. Just this past weekend I gave a presentation on uses of 3D printing in interventional radiology at the Western Angiographic and Interventional Society meeting in Vancouver, BC. It was very well received. In my opinion, there has not been enough work on applications in 3D printing for vascular procedures, such as those done in IR. Is anyone else involved in 3D printing for vascular applications: IR, vascular surgery, neurointervention, etc?
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