3D Systems to help Congenital Heart Disease sufferers worldwide
Michael Petch is the editor-in-chief at 3DPI and the author of several books on 3D printing. He is a regular keynote speaker at technology conferences where he has delivered presentations such as 3D printing with graphene and ceramics and the use of technology to enhance food security. Michael is most interested in the science behind emerging technology and the accompanying economic and social implications.
3D Systems have announced a material that will help the medical industry solve a life-threatening issue, “critical congenital heart defects (CHD) requiring surgical intervention.”
According to research published in an academic journal, “Congenital heart disease, a major cause of serious morbidity and mortality, is common.” CHD can be found across the world and, “the incidence of congenital heart disease is similar in all countries.”
The service and material offered by 3D Systems is an, “anatomical modeling service to include a pliable MultiJet Printing (MJP) material for its patient-specific 3D modeling and printing service.”
3D printing challenges in the medical industry
The medical sector presents its own unique challenges to the 3D printing industry. Patient safety is of course paramount and medical devices or procedures must undergo close scrutiny before they are deemed safe for use.
A still from the new CBS tech drama ‘Pure Genius’ that sees a heart 3D printed in its Pilot episode. Image via: CBS
In a statement issued by the company 3D systems said,
The full-color CJP models color-code the patient’s heart structures to assist communication during physician consultations, and the new MJP models enable pre-surgical planning and surgical rehearsal using a pliable material that mimics the patient’s anatomy and can be cut, sutured and grafted. 3D Systems MJP technology allows the entire heart to be 3D printed in one piece while maintaining an accurate representation of internal organ structures.
Pre-surgical planning tools such as this reduce the amount of time a patient must spend in the operating theater. Not only is this advantageous for a patient’s health, but it also has significant cost benefits. Research from Stanford university shows that Operating Room (OR) costs can range from $29/min to $80/min, therefore a strong incentive exists for lowering the time required in the OR.
Commenting on the possibilities Shafkat Anwar, MD, the director of Cardiology at a St. Louis hospital said, “”Our cardiothoracic surgeons routinely use 3D printed models for precise pre-surgical planning, and have found these models helpful for complex cases. The models are also regularly used in our institution for trainee education and for counseling patients and their families.”
Featured image shows 3D Systems’ cardiac 3D modeling.
3D printing or Additive manufacturing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. 3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling (subtractive processes).
A 3D printer is a limited type of industrial robot that is capable of carrying out an additive process under computer control.
While 3D printing technology has been around since the 1980s, it was not until the early 2010s that the printers became widely available commercially. The first working 3D printer was created in 1984 by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp. Since the start of the 21st century there has been a large growth in the sales of these machines, and their price has dropped substantially. According to Wohlers Associates, a consultancy, the market for 3D printers and services was worth $2.2 billion worldwide in 2012, up 29% from 2011.[
The 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction (AEC), industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military, engineering, civil engineering, dental and medical industries, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, footwear, jewelry, eyewear, education, geographic information systems, food, and many other fields. One study has found that open source 3D printing could become a mass market item because domestic 3D printers can offset their capital costs by enabling consumers to avoid costs associated with purchasing common household objects.
3D Printable Models
3D printable models may be created with a computer aided design package or via 3D scanner. The manual modeling process of preparing geometric data for 3D computer graphics is similar to plastic arts such as sculpting. 3D scanning is a process of analyzing and collecting data of real object; its shape and appearance and builds digital, three dimensional models.