3D Printing for Surgical Preparation and Learning Tools
3D printing is revolutionizing how surgeons prepare for surgery. The technology is used for replicating patient-specific organs from scan data that allow the surgeon to practice and prepare before the actual complicated operation takes place.
The surgeon is able to physically handle and visualize the anatomical model that is specific to the patient about to undergo surgery. This enables the surgeon to get to know the patient’s exact anatomy from multiple angles and anticipate what to expect during the operation.
It is far better and more accurate than just looking at X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. This method of using 3D printing technology in surgical planning has proven to speed up procedures and minimize trauma to the patient, increasing the likelihood of success in the patient’s recovery. In addition, the use of 3D printing has shown the potential for huge savings in both time and cost.
In the same manner as helping surgeons prepare for surgery, 3D printing of anatomical models helps with medical education. Traditionally, clinical training, education, and device testing have relied on the use of animal models, human cadavers, and mannequins for providing hands-on experience.
These options have several deficiencies such as limited supply, the expense of handling and storage, the lack of pathology within the models, inconsistencies of human anatomy, and the inability to accurately represent tissue characteristics of a living human.
With 3D printing, models produced from patient scan data help with the diagnosis of illnesses, outline treatment decisions, as well as aiding in clinical applications and training.