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3D printing is increasingly gaining ground in medicine as it is being used to aid doctors in preparing for complex procedures in addition to making prosthetics. Quite recently the life of Teresa Flint, a mother of 3, diagnosed with a complex aneurysm was saved by doctors at the Jacobs institute in Buffalo using an $87,000 3-D printer (EDENN 260 V) made by Statasy Ltd. This 3D printed model allowed doctors to come up with a strategy to save her life through virtual trial and error on an exact replica of her brain.
In addition to helping doctors come up with the best approach for surgical procedures, the familiarity provided by several practice sessions on the 3D replica allowed the doctors to complete the surgery earlier with very few complications. This made the procedure very efficient and even helped in the overall recovery of the patient.
[Image Source: Stratasys/YouTube]
This is not the first time surgeons have used 3D printing technology to perform better surgery. In fact this year, doctors made a 3D model of an 11 month old baby’s congenital heart defect which helped them to successfully perform a heart surgery on the child.
Although printing 3D models of surgical problems has not become routine yet, most of the printers are used for research purposes. Strategy Ltd has partnered with a company to create a neurosurgery training model of a brain including skin that can be pulled back and a bone that can be drilled into thereby replicating the feel of actual brain surgery for students
"This is going to change the way we train physicians. I think this is going to impact every aspect of medical care." said Dr. Adnan Siddiqui who is the chief medical officer at Jacobs Institute and vice chair of neurosurgery, Jacobs School of Medicine.