Physician’s Weekly co-hosted another installment of the #PWChat series on Tuesday, March 6, with PW blogger Lars Brouwers, MD, PhD-candidate. He recently drove to Africa to deliver 3D-printed hands to children.

For the interactive discussion, topics included the various ways in which 3D printing can be used in medicine, how Dr. Brouwers and others have and are currently using 3D printing in medicine, the exciting possibilities of 3D printing in medicine, the cost-effectiveness of 3D printing in medicine, and much more!

View our upcoming schedule, or read our other #PWChat recaps here.

Below are the highlights from the chat. You can read the full transcript here.

 

 

Question 1

OK, let’s get started!

Q1: Can you provide some of the various ways in which #3DPrinting can be used in medicine?#PWChat

— Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) March 5, 2018

A1 #3Dprinting can be used to plan an operation, to inform patients, hopefully to speed up the surgery and improve accuracy of the operation #PWChat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

our study showed that doctors were able to classify acetabular fractures more accurate using #3Dprinted models instead of X-ray and 2D CT #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

One of the most impactful uses for 3D printing is the ability to custom fit/print for an individual.

— 3D Logics (@3dlogics) March 5, 2018

 


Question 2

Q2: How have you (Dr. Brouwers & everyone else joining the chat) used #3DPrinting in medicine?#PWChat

— Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) March 5, 2018

A2 we started only 1.5 year ago, because we noticed #3Dprinting was not that expensive anymore. We wanted to see if we can help patients by using 3D printed models.

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

A2 It took us 4 months to smooth the process from DICOM (CT data) to STL data. but once we found out, we are #3Dprinting ever since for 24/7 using the #ultimaker3 and #makerbotreplicatorZ18 @Ultimaker

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

what invented lastoct 2017 was what icall the #wristbandfunnel its specialtyfunnel for people with #ALS #strokes #spinalinjuries &other nerve damageto the hands&this lets em pour drinks again with Velcro(tm)even with a disablity its on @pinshape hope you care toshare #3dprinting pic..com/esb0SJQe7f

— Tim Postma (@TimPatAlPostma) March 6, 2018

 


Question 3

Q3: What excites you most about the possibilities of #3DPrinting in medicine?#PWChat

— Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) March 5, 2018

#pwchat A(3) the most exciting thing to me is improving patient outcomes and experience using this manufacturing technique- we have some work to do to prove it; but in our initial experience (about 400 models) it seems to really add to care.

— Michael Magnetta (@MichaelMagnetta) March 5, 2018

A3 and of course the amount of possibilities. I compare #3Dprinting with the first Iphone. we have the software and hardware available. however it can be much better and IT WILL BE much better every year!

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

 


Question 4

Q4: What information is available regarding the cost effectiveness of in-hospital #3Dprinting and what does it suggest? #PWChat

— Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) March 5, 2018

A4. the answer is simple. there is none! #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

A4. If you do a quick pubmed search, you’ll find a few articles. This field is new so not much. In our experience, the cost isn’t in printers or materials but in the people to segment and run them. Still, the models are very inexpensive. Certainly less than OR time #PWChat

— Michael Magnetta (@MichaelMagnetta) March 5, 2018

We do not need people to segment the models. Our models cost only 10 euro’s. the doctors are already in the hospital and they segment everything using in hospital software.

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

 


Question 5

Q5: What obstacles can be expected when trying to implement in-hospital #3DPrinting, or 3D printing in medicine overall? How can they be overcome?#PWChat

— Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) March 5, 2018

A5. every hospital has got its own software available for working with CT and MRI and therefore it is really hard to invent a methods which works for every hospital. #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

Largely it’s education and exposure to #3dprinting technology. The more we see/talk about what it can do, the more we can explore its viability and move it forward. #PWChat

— 3D Logics (@3dlogics) March 5, 2018

Q5. 1-Working with leadership to get buy-in. Not difficult due to obvious value but VERY important. 2-dedicated time to run the lab-all physicians are busy but you need a champion! 3-engineering help when needed #PWChat

— Michael Magnetta (@MichaelMagnetta) March 5, 2018

A5 Also, when trying to obtain funding for #3DPrinting , your project needs to involve collabs. these are the sought out models, orgs collaborating w/ researchers, universities etc. “He who walks alone; walks penniless” #HIMSS18 #PWChat

— ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) March 5, 2018

 


Question 6

Q6: What regulatory obstacles exist for #3DPrinting in medicine? For example, are 3D-printed prosthetics considered medical devices?#PWChat

— Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) March 5, 2018

Depends on the use case – for #anatomicalmodels there are class2 implications but doctors are using open source non cleared software presently. For #customimplanta the manufacturer needs to certify the entire process.

— Richard Hurley (@RichardHurleyMD) March 5, 2018

A6. untill now, there are few regulatory obstacles because the law and goverment organisations are slow and behind this technology. However soon, it will get more difficult to use #3Dprinting on people. #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

A6. More regulation is coming in the USA – mostly on the software side I understand. Getting involved in @RSNA 3DPrintingSIG is a good way to stay informed. Here is the FDAs current stance: https://t.co/xcWfXZ3gca #PWChat

— Michael Magnetta (@MichaelMagnetta) March 5, 2018

A6. #3Dprinting is considered as a medical device when it is inserted in the body. the prosthetics are not. however, soon it will be. Therefore it is important for #3Dprinting companies to take care of this. I do not think this a job for the physicians in the hospital #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

 


Question 7

Q7: Do you foresee a future in which patients download and print their own medical devices at home with their own #3D printers, and what would be the implications of that?#PWChat

— Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) March 5, 2018

A7. that’s is hell of a question, Maybe in the far future. I think to most important thing now is that doctors will adopt #3Dprinting and take these models in their daily practise. #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

A7 Maybe something like this: “Patients would go to an online drugstore with their digital prescription, buy the blueprint and the chemical ink needed, and then print the drug at home. In the future” https://t.co/wUHh7Dxh56 #PWChat

— Lisa Davis Budzinski (@lisadbudzinski) March 5, 2018

No but there may be a role for remote printing such as in space or in isolated regions.

— Richard Hurley (@RichardHurleyMD) March 5, 2018

 


Question 8

Q8: How long do you think it will be until the plastics/other materials used in #3DPrinting in medicine are biofriendly so that they can be used for implantable devices?#PWChat

— Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) March 5, 2018

A8. this will be soon! @ultimaker is already capable of printing hard and elastic filament. We just have to wait before they can print metal very cheap as well. To bioprint on the other hand is much more difficult. #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

A8. In groningen, the netherlands, they can print bacterial flora, but on a micro level. It will take years before this technique will be cost effective and will be available for the mass patients #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

 


Question 9

Q9: What excites you most about the potential uses of #3DPrinting in medicine in the FUTURE? What can we expect that we haven’t seen yet?#PWChat

— Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) March 5, 2018

A9. expect that doctors will enter the patients room with a #3Dprinted model in their hand to explain the patients illness or fracture and then give the model to the patient! Patients will not receive a brochure anymore, but their own model! #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018

A9. that is by the way what we are already doing on a micro level 🙂
I do not think #3Dprinting is going to replace the conventional methods, but expend it. like the CT-scan earlier next to the X-ray. #augmentedreality is coming as well #PWchat

— Lars Brouwers, MD, MSc (@Brouwers_3D) March 5, 2018