Patient specific 3D printed anatomical models based medical image data are used by surgeons for a variety of purposes such as pre and intra (after sterilization) surgical assessment and planning in preparation for complex surgeries, and for education. Models allow a surgeon to gain additional insight into the patient’s anatomy and thereby plan the procedure more comprehensively. Surgeons have reported that anatomical models decrease the amount of planning required while in theatre, and therefore can reduce the amount of time the patient is under anesthetic while reducing overall operational expenses (NHS operating theatres can cost between £1200 – £2000 per hour).
SURGICAL CUTTING GUIDES
Patient-specific surgical guiding templates for orthognathic and orthopaedic surgery are becoming more common. They enable surgery to be planned in detail within a software package and then translated onto a patient with great accuracy. Before, they would use scan images to physically draw plans, which can mean a higher rate of in-surgery difficulties and longer rehabilitation periods. These devices can also save on costs by requiring fewer sterilised surgical trays within theatre. 3D LifePrints is working with orthopedic surgeons to develop these guides for a variety of procedures. Current bespoke orthopaedic cutting guides are available for procedures such as Distal Radius Correction, Cubitus Varus Correction, Proximal Humerus correction, Bi-Planar Distal Femur Osteotomy, Femur Sarcoma, for hip replacements and total knee replacement surgery. The main materials used are either Polyamide 2210 (Nylon 12) or bio compatible photopolymer resins using SLS 3D printing technology.
IMPROVING PATIENT DOCTOR COMMUNICATIONS
A 3D printed model can help doctors communicate with patients or their family members. This is applicable in all surgical cases but particularly relevant in paediatric cases or when the patient does not share the same language as the doctor. The anatomical model can be provided before or after surgery so the patient can better understand the complexities of the anatomy and the process. The correct model will therefore assist the surgeon in the process of obtaining consent for the procedure.
3D LifePrints is able to design, prototype and supply a range of customised medical devices to meet your exact requirements. In some cases the devices may be patient specific and created from scan data, in others the device can be generic. Recent projects have included a wearable device to house a sensor (pictured) and an ophthalmic device for sampling eye fluid.
3D MEDICAL MODELLING SOFTWARE
Medical modelling lies at the heart of any medical 3D printing service. The majority of 3D LifePrints’ products have their origin in patient data and the accurate extraction and segmentation of the data is paramount to providing models and devices that are fit for their purpose. 3D LifePrints uses both Materialise’s Mimics and 3-Matic design software package and Panasonic’s Plissimo XV.
3D PRINTED FACIAL PROSTHETICS
3D LifePrints is working with the University of Liverpool and University of Manchester to apply advanced and innovative computer aided design and 3D manufacturing to the development of customised, durable, user-friendly, and cost effective soft-tissue facial prostheses. The research covers both new methods and new materials, initially by modification of existing 3D printable materials to optimise them for facial prosthetics and latterly by developing new flexible plastic materials. The aim is to replicate the properties of the traditionally used silicones but with other advantages such as durability, cost, ease of replication and time to manufacture.
3D PRINTED FACIAL BURN MASKS
3D LifePrints is working a leading London based NHS hospital to provide 3D printed facial burn masks to assist patients. Using the advanced 3DMD scanning system, a 3D model is captured of the affected area. 3D LifePrint’s engineers work with the surgeon to further customise the model before 3D printing. The masks are then printed in a bio-compatible transparent material, and medical silicon is added to the mask before patient fitting.
USING 3D TECHNOLOGIES FOR DENTISTRY
With a value already worth $780 million, the use 3D technologies in the dental market is set to rise to become a $3.1 billion industry by 2020. Both dentists and patients save money, and dental and orthopedic services are faster and more accurate. 3D LifePrints currently offers medical dental archiving services in the UK. Using top of the range 3D scanners, we are able to digitally record patient impressions in a number of orientations and store in a 3D printable format for future use. This allows the client to reduce physical storage costs well as retrieval times. Other applications of 3D printing in dentistry include:
General Dentistry: to build crowns and restore teeth and bridges.
Oral Surgery: to fit partial and complete dentures, make devices to be implanted or fitted to the teeth and jaw, to reconstruct jaw bones from CT data for surgical restoration products..
Orthodontics: to develop, build, fit, and improve appliances.
Oral Healthcare: to develop and improve oral healthcare products
Cosmetic Dentistry: to create and fit caps, “grills,” and other cosmetic items for teeth.