Enhancing the Surgical Process with Personalized 3-D Printing


Three-dimensional (3-D) printing technology, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, offers surgeons opportunities to practice procedures before complex operations begin.

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According to the American College of Surgeons, the idea of 3-D printing is one that medical professionals have come to know well. And for decades, the technology has been utilized to create everything from laboratory equipment to prosthetics to surgical tools that are needed to perform operations.

But during recent years, clinicians have also had the opportunity to combine this 3-D capability with software that translates images from computerized tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) into specialized, individualized replicas of each individual’s organs. And patients are experiencing enhanced outcomes as a result.

Real-World Benefits

Surgeons utilize the unique 3-D models—which may be made of patient-specific rubber or plastic—to practice and plan complex procedures, such as operations to treat complex aneurysms or aortic deformities. Additionally, these models may be taken into the operating room to reference during surgical procedures.

As a result, surgeons utilizing this type of technology are less likely to encounter unexpected orientation of anatomic structures that may impact the course of the surgery. By mapping out a plan and utilizing models as a reference while they operate, surgeons may achieve successful outcomes more efficiently, spending less time in the operating room and reducing costs required to fund expensive operations.

3-D Printing and Pills?

Three-dimensional, patient-specific technology has obvious benefits for situations in which patients and physicians can see and touch creations, such as replicas of organs or tissues that must be corrected or treated through procedures such as surgery. But this technology may also be an increasingly effective solution for the pharmaceutical industry.

In March 2016, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals unveiled their SPRITAM® tablets to manage a variety of seizures. The oral suspension tablet is the first prescription drug created utilizing 3-D technology that has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration.

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