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Introducing a New Blog on 3D Printing in Medicine

I’m a surgical resident in training and PhD-candidate in the Elisabeth-Tweesteden hospital, Tilburg, the Netherlands. The Elisabeth-Tweesteden Hospital, a level 1 trauma center with a large neurosurgical department aims to care for 75% of all major trauma patients from North Brabant, the second largest province in the Netherlands (2014 population of 2,482,000). Currently, 2,300 trauma patients are admitted to the Elisabeth-Tweesteden hospital annually. One-fifth of this population is severely injured.

I investigate the health-related quality of life after a pelvic or acetabular fracture in 10 hospitals in the North Brabant province. However, more important for the readers of PW, I also investigate the added value of 3D printing in acetabular fractures, which I discussed in my PW feature article “Implementing In-Hospital 3D Printing.” Traumasurgeon Mike Bemelman and I set up our own low-budget 3D lab to provide all students, residents, and surgeons with anatomical models for better understanding complex fractures and surgical preparations.

In my opinion, 3D printing can be divided into 3 parts: anatomical models, surgical guides, and patient-specific surgery. Building anatomical models can be done easily by medical doctors. However, preparing patient-specific surgical guides is much more difficult. Some surgeons and hospitals choose to outsource this to commercial companies; however, this costs several hundred dollars and is definitely not cost efficient. Therefore, we cooperate with the medical 3D lab of the Radboud University Medical Center (Radboudumc). Thomas Maal, PhD, is coordinator of this lab. The Radboudumc 3D Lab originated from the department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 2006. It has ​developed and has since grown into a key element for patient care in the Radboudumc. The main question in the Radboudumc 3D lab is how we can improve individual patient care with use of 3D-technology. With solutions like patient-specific virtual surgery planning and 3D-printed anatomical models, an optimal personalized treatment plan can be created.

A few weeks ago, malunion of a distal radius was seen in our trauma department. Frank van der Heijden, PhD, consultant for trauma surgery, decided a correction osteotomy was needed. We prepared this operation using 3D printing technology. Both wrists were scanned, 3D reconstructions were made, and the healthy side was mirrored. We then anonymously sent the files to the Radboud 3D lab and–during a videoconference with medical technician Arico Verhulst–decided where the osteotomy had to be performed, and finally created surgical guides. We printed the wrist and surgical guides with our Ultimaker 3 (production costs 5 euro) to practice the operation. The surgical guides were also sent to a commercial company using SLS technique (classified for medical use). This material can be sterilized and therefore used during surgery. This cost 30 euro. The operation went well, and the patient can now use her wrist pain-free.

This is just an example of our cooperation. In fact, Thomas and I are convinced that non-academic hospitals should cooperate more often with academic hospitals to create a low-budget workflow and to create a learning momentum in both hospitals.

Look for my next medical 3D printing-focused blog in the coming weeks!


View Comments

  • Thanks For Sharing Blog...Its Very Nice and Informative 3D Printing Medical Industry Related ...
    3D Printing in Medicine is useful information for Medical Industry Peoples.

  • Surgeons and patients have to undergo lots of preparations before getting into the operation theater. Moreover, surgeons had to rely only of the MRI or CT scans to plan the surgery. But now with the help of 3D printing, surgeons can actually see, feel, and study the patient’s anatomy in the form a 3D printed surgery model and plan the surgery.
    Similarly You have given wonderful information regarding 3d printing in medical industry.
    Great work.

  • The Global 3D Printing in Healthcare Market 2018 Industry growing at a CAGR of 18.3%

    The Global 3D Printing in Healthcare Market is expected to reach $797.7 million in 2017, providing a CAGR at the rate of 18.3% from 2018 to 2025, as per to a new report by Orian Research Consultant

    The report, “3D Printing in Healthcare Market 2018 Global Industry Size, Growth, Share, upcoming trends, global cost structure and different drivers Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2018-2025”.

    Applications for 3D printing in Healthcare Market

    The applications include the medical uses such as, organ fabrication, anatomical models, and creation of customized prosthetics, drugs and tablets and many more. The end users include Prosthetics, Medical Components, Tissue Engineering, Hearing Aids, Surgical Guides, Dental Implants, Drug Screening and many more. 3D printing has been used by the manufacturing industry for decades to produce product prototypes. Many manufacturers use large, fast 3D printers called rapid prototyping machines to create models and molds.

    Key Findings of the Research
    Evaluate market potential through analyzing growth rates (CAGR %), Volume (Units) and Value ($M) data given at country level – for product types, end use applications and by different industry verticals.

    Understand the different dynamics influencing the market – key driving factors, challenges and hidden opportunities.
    Get in-depth insights on your competitor performance – market shares, strategies, financial benchmarking, product benchmarking, SWOT and more.

    Analyze the sales and distribution channels across key geographies to improve top-line revenues.
    Understand the industry supply chain with a deep-dive on the value augmentation at each step, in order to optimize value and bring efficiencies in your processes.

    Get a quick outlook on the market entropy – M&A’s, deals, partnerships, product launches of all key players for the past 4 years.
    Evaluate the supply-demand gaps, import-export statistics and regulatory landscape for more than top 20 countries globally for the market.

    The Key Player Analysis
    Market players will try to increase their profits through R&D investments and product differentiation. Key Players will make great efforts to improve product performance, capacity and fulfill consumer requirements, expectation to retain their market position. Following key player include in 3D Printing in Healthcare Market 2018 -Bio-Rad Laboratories, EnvisionTEC, Materialise NV, Stratasys Inc. Organovo, SOLS, Simbionix, Metamason,RegenHU Ltd, Youbionic ,Bio3D Technologies Pte Ltd ,3D Matters Pte Ltd., 3D Systems Corporation (3DS), Ekso Bionics , Roche Pharmaceuticals, and Renishaw plc

  • 3D Printed models are not only used for Medical surgical practises but also for transplanted parts. With more and more material advancements and Medical grade materials such as PEEK, Titanium etc. saving life of thousands of patients

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Tags: Cardiology Emergency Medicine Endocrinology Gastroenterology Geriatrics Hospital Medicine Medical Technology Neurology Obstetrics & Gynecology Oncology Orthopedics Pain Pediatrics Pulmonology/Critical Care Rheumatology Surgery

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