Patient-specific anatomical models used by surgeons to prepare for procedures is a rapidly growing application for 3D printing. In fact, it ranked as the top medical 3D-printing application in a survey of medical professionals conducted by manufacturing organization SME last year. GE Healthcare (Chicago) is on board with the buzz and announced this week a collaboration with Formlabs (Somerville, MA), which develops stereolithography-based 3D printers and related materials, software and services.
Radiologists can use GE Healthcare’s Advantage Workstation (AW) to prepare 3D CT or MRI data to assist in diagnosis and procedure planning, then export the data in a form that is ready for 3D printing on Formlabs systems or viewable in virtual or augmented reality in seconds, explained GE Healthcare in a news release.
|The Form 3B printer from Formlabs will print patient-specific anatomical models at the point of care using CT or MRI data from GE Healthcare’s Advantage Workstation. Image courtesy Formlabs.|
By taking advantage of the AW’s diagnostic workflow, producing files required for printing 3D models is reduced from hours to minutes, added Formlabs. “Combined with technology from Formlabs, including the Form 3B printer, PreForm print preparation software and over 20 proprietary resins with unique properties, radiologists and biomedical engineers will be able to serve various surgical specialties with a single workflow,” said the company.
The anatomical models benefit medical personnel, who can accurately visualize patient-specific anatomies and communicate more effectively with the surgical team, as well as patients by reducing their anxiety, said GE Healthcare.
The news release also announced GE Healthcare’s participation as a minority investor in a $240 million funding round for UK-based surgical robotics company CMR Surgical and investment in Houston-based Decisio Health, a software company specialized in clinical surveillance.
The Versius surgical robot developed by CMR Surgical is described as a small, modular and cost-effective system designed to expand the use of minimally invasive procedures. In combination with GE Healthcare’s surgical imaging and artificial intelligence systems, Versius could transform “the way surgeries are performed worldwide,” said GE Healthcare.
The investment in Decisio Health reportedly will allow GE Healthcare to expand into the virtual care space and advance patient monitoring technology. Decisio’s software provides real-time visualization of patients from multiple systems across a care area, hospital or entire network, explained GE Healthcare. “Combining GE Healthcare’s digital clinical platforms with Decisio’s visualization software, clinical teams will be able to merge latent and retrospective data (e.g. EMR) and real-time patient data (e.g. blood pressure and lactic levels) to help improve clinical decision-making and positively impact patient care,” said the company.
Commenting on these partnerships and investments, GE Healthcare President and CEO Kieran Murphy said, “Healthcare’s next chapter will be written in part by emerging technologies like 3D printing, robotic surgery and virtual patient monitoring. That’s why we’re putting GE Healthcare’s innovative engine and resources behind collaborations with these exciting, next-generation companies—to help change the way clinicians work and enable more precise patient care.”