In a recent survey of the top medical 3D-printing applications conducted by SME, a nonprofit organization promoting manufacturing technology based in Dearborn, MI, anatomical modeling ranked highest by a large margin. Seventy-one percent of medtech professionals cast their vote for 3D-printed surgical models. Prototyping and tooling, jigs and fixtures came in a distant second and third, respectively garnering 56% and 46% of votes. The technology enables surgeons to prepare for procedures on patient-specific models and work out any potential complications before they enter the operating room. 3D Systems (Rock Hill, SC) is tapping into this growing market, and improving efficiencies in the process, with the launch yesterday of its On Demand Anatomical Modeling Service.
The new service provides medical professionals with speedy access to anatomical models printed from 3D digital files, enabling enhanced visualization for surgical planning as well as patient education, said 3D Systems.
The process for procuring a model is simple by design. Medical professionals upload an .stl, .obj or .ply file to 3D Systems’ On Demand Anatomical Models website. Customers can prepare model files using 3D Systems’ D2P (DICOM to Print) or another commercially available software. They can select from a variety of materials, depending on the use and desired areas to highlight in the model, and then request an instant quote. If the quote is accepted, the order can be placed with a single click, and the finished model will arrive in approximately five business days, said 3D Systems in a press release.
The company also has created a seamless connection between its D2P software and the On Demand Anatomical Models website, allowing medical professionals to quickly convert medical imaging data into accurate, digital 3D anatomical models. D2P now includes a Volume VR module, enabling the entire patient scan to be uploaded into a 3D Virtual Reality environment without any data pre-processing. The user can “walk through” the scans and see an enhanced view of the patient’s anatomy, control layer visualization and cut cross sections in any direction. Further enhancements announced by 3D Systems include improved mesh creation options, import and alignment of an external mesh file into a patient scan and PDF generation.
“For more than 25 years, 3D Systems has assisted medical professionals through the combination of our anatomical modeling experience and our 3D printing expertise,” said Katie Weimer, Vice President, Medical Devices. “The healthcare industry is seeing the benefits provided through 3D-printed anatomical models, and we are dedicated to continuing to expand our healthcare offerings to meet market needs. With the launch of our new On Demand Anatomical Modeling Service, we are making 3D printed models easier and more accessible to a broader range of the healthcare community.”
3D Systems also continues to offer a full-service virtual surgical planning and anatomical modeling service. Medical professionals can submit a computed tomography or magnetic resonance generated scan of a patient to the Healthcare Technology Center in Littleton, CO, where 3D Systems’ biomedical engineers will process the data, design the model and 3D print it at the facility. The finished model is then shipped to the customer for use in pre-surgical planning, pre-surgical rehearsal or for educational purposes. Certain materials can also be used in a sterile environment, such as an operating room, for consultation during a procedure.