3D printing in medicine

Samuel Morgan
over 1 year ago

In this issue, we discuss the  recent article published in the MJA entitled, "Three-dimensional printing in medicine".

We at Surgia are excited by the various technological advancements and evolution that is occurring around us. Talking specifically about this article, the MJA authors focused on a few key areas of which three are particularly relevant to our surgical interests.

Firstly, interventional planning. Currently, we have the capabilities to scan or image a patient using CT or MRI and integrate this information with segmentalisation software to convert these images into printable 3D models. What does this mean in terms of application? Well, let's say you've got a particularly rare, complex or difficult surgery coming up. Teams around the globe are now able to render a model to practice their approach thus reducing time under anaesthetic, total operation time, blood loss and trauma. In this MJA article, the authors also quote orthopaedic case reports that in addition to the above list of benefits, show better reduction of complex fractures.

Secondly, customised prostheses and implantable components. By tailoring these implants to the patient, better biomechanics and aesthetic results can be ensured. Another study mentioned by the authors of this article reports on the use of 3D printed calcium phosphate implants for cranial and maxillofacial defects. Current titanium implants were reported as costly and infection prone. In comparison, the 3D models were found to be practical, uncomplicated, produced an in vivo degradation that was replaced by host bone and could be created in just four hours. 

Finally and albeit an indirect advancement for the surgically minded folk, are polypills. Printed pills containing separate profiles that can combine complex medication regimes into a single pill. When talking about the diabetes and hypertension mix, this could revolutionise the current climate surrounding multi-comorbidity management and with FDA approval in the process it's a matter of watching this space...


For further information and references, please visit the MJA site and original article below:

https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2017/207/3/three-dimensional-printing-medicine 


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