A team of researchers from the Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow, Poland have successfully 3D printed a preoperative planning model of a human liver for only $150. The research project serves to demonstrate that 3D printed patient-specific surgical models can be made at an affordable cost using accessible 3D printing technologies.
In recent years, the medical community has come to recognize the benefits of using patient-specific anatomical models to help prepare and plan for surgeries as well as to help patients understand the procedures they will be undergoing. Understandably, 3D printing has been a big part of creating these medical models, as the technology is ideal for small-batch fabrication of complex objects.
As the researchers argue, however, the implementation of 3D printed preoperative models in hospitals has been somewhat limited due to the high cost of industrial 3D printers and the complexity of certain 3D modeling software programs. In an effort to introduce a more accessible alternative, the research team, led by Jan Witowski, has demonstrated a method that uses affordable FDM 3D printing technology, open-source software, and silicone casting to create detailed, patient-specific models.
The research, which was recently published here, demonstrates this method through the manufacturing of a liver model, to be used in the preoperative planning for a laparoscopic liver hemihepatectomy for colorectal cancer metastases. “This paper presents a cost-effective technique of preparing 3D printed liver models that preserves the shape and all of the structures, including the vessels and the tumor, which in the present case is colorectal liver metastasis,” reads the abstract.
Continue to read on http://www.3ders.org