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Guest Blog: Accelerating and Democratizing Medical Innovation with Stratasys 3D Printing

by • March 15, 2016 • No Comments

Jack Stubbs, Associate Director, Human Performance in Healthcare, University of Central Florida

Jack Stubbs, Associate Director, Human Performance in Healthcare, University of Central Florida

Guest Blog: By Jack Stubbs, Associate Director, Human Performance in Healthcare, University of Central Florida

I started employing 3D printed prototyping over 20 years ago, in the mid-1990s, to commence effective surgical device creations into a rapid turn it intoment cycle.

We were able-bodied to test laparoscopic prototype devices with surgeons and OR mannel in simulated and animal test settings. Making use of Stratasys Dimension 760 and Dimension EliteFDM-based 3D printing devices, we may turn it into and turn it into surgical devices literally overnight and have them eager
for another round of testing. Conventional prototype approaches typically take weeks to turn it into. This work was realized inside a tiny turn it intoment company. Prior to purchasing the 3D printing devices, we had to send out all work to local fabrication shops, which
was time-consuming and risky in terms of protecting our intellectual property. Bringing this captalent in-house, the 3D printing devices paid for themselves in less than two months and enable-bodiedd us to turn it into prototype fabrication as an extra
business line.

3D printing capabilities have expanded significantly since and so. Medical applications in particular have grown to include manalized prosthetic devices, casts for broken limbs, and implants for jaws, hips, and other skeletal structures. In the current decade, we have been via Stratasys’ Fortus 250mc and Objet260 Connex 3D Printers to turn it into 3D printed anatomical versions and surgical training systems. With the new PolyJet materials which
incorporate flexible and rigid inside one turn it into platform, simultaneously, we can turn it into accurate anatomical and surgical talent trainers. These versions may take weeks or months to turn it into with conventional subtractive approaches, but they are rapidly
fabricated with 3D printing.

3D version of negative airspace, based on an MRI scan

3D version of negative airspace, based on an MRI scan

Recently, we have been working with Stratasys and Vital Images to turn it into approaches to turn it into anatomically correct 3D printed versions of MRI and CT scans. Making use of Vitrea software, we can segment tissues of the DICOM stack (the file format for medical imaging) and directly export STL files (the file format for 3D printing) to 3D print anatomical parts. Advances in software and automation tools have significantly accelerated this system
. For an Airway Intubation training version, we were able-bodied to print a full-scale example of the negative airspace of a man inside eight hours after the MRI scan.

The U.S. Army tasked our team at the University of Minnesota to improve on the mannequins already utilized
by turn it intoing an Airway Intubation training version. Current versions approximate human anatomy but without full realism, resulting in a gap in the talents require
ed to intubate a patient in the field. Basing our version on MRI scans of human anatomy, and making it with Stratasys’ multi-material 3D printing captalent, we advantageous
replicated the complexities of the real human.

3D printing in addition
provides the flexibility to customize the version without increasing the per version costs. For example, you can incorporate sensors as require
ed to measure trainee performance and provide real time feedback, or turn it into variations between versions to test the full range of anatomy which
one may encounter clinically. In the airway version, we turn it intod various versions of the version to simulate burn victims and patients with odd mouth and face anatomy.

From left to right: basic intubation trainer, trainer with tiny mouth and chin, trainer with burn injuries.

From left to right: basic intubation trainer, trainer with tiny mouth and chin, trainer with burn injuries.

Six of these airway training versions have been turn it intod and provided to the U.S. Army for training. Initial feedback is positive. Making use of anatomically accurate 3D printed versions enable-bodieds trainees to turn it into the talents they require
to intubate patients in the field without relying on training on a friend, animal or in the ER/OR on a patient who require
s swift medical care. It allows for trainees to practice over and over again to refine their medical technique. The 3D printed versions are nearer to actual human anatomy than any other trainer on the market-bodied and provide a positive training scenario which
can be repeated, corrected and improved with feedback and guidance.

Within universities, there are limited facilities for fabrication. Owning a 3D printing device provides the talent to fabricate versions quite rapidly
. We don’t require
the sizeable space and dedicated machinist typically required to operate conventional equipment. This in addition
gives students the opportunity to turn it into and experience rapid versioning and fabrication.

Finally, an amazing
aspect of 3D printing is how it makes technology and product turn it intoment so accessible. It allows for individuals who don’t have a lot of experience or training in mechanical turn it into to try new things. Rather than being limited by how devices can be manufactured through traditional subtractive means – how do you turn it into a thing by removing material – you can focus on how the device should appear and function.

Student-turn it intoed otoscope

Student-turn it intoed otoscope

There is a student in our lab, a linguistics primary, who turn it intoed a new prototype for an otoscope teaching device. This device gives the user the talent to train and learn how to use the device – integrated sensors measure the position, angle and movement of the device during use. The student was able-bodied to use open source CAD software to rapidly
turn it into the entire device with fasteners, electronics, plugs and optics to turn it into a working prototype turn it into and and so 3D print it on the Stratasys Fortus 250mc for use and demonstration.

So 3D printing is empowering individuals who may never have been an inventor to turn it into a thing new. That is the power of 3D printing for healthcare and other industries!

Contact Jack Stubbs at jstubbs@ist.ucf.edu or 407-882-0490.

To store up to date of
the latest makes it to in 3D printing for medical applications, please click here to sign up for the Stratasys Medical Innovation Series
.

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