3D Printing has come a long way since the inception of the technology. It has gone from being used almost uniquely for prototypes in industrial environments, to enabling the creation of highly complex, customized medical devices that help physicians provide their patients with better treatment options and a higher level of care.
The North Manchester General Hospital in the UK is building a name for itself with its newly established 3D printing lab. His business case proved to be a very obvious path towards integrating a 3D lab in the hospital. Here’s how he built his case and how his success story developed.
A very present topic in Medical 3D Printing is the regulation and cost of 3D Printing and its use in hospitals. At the Materialise World Summit in April, we had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion with main subject: "3D Printing in Hospitals: Where Are We Heading?" The topics discussed were 3D printing costs, quality and regulation, and the need for clinical proof of the benefits of 3D Printing. During the panel discussion, we used live polls in which the audience could answer a series of questions. Now we would like to know your opinion.
The orthopedic department at the AZ Monica Hospital consists of innovation-driven caregivers who believe Medical 3D Printing has become an essential tool to improve patient care. They believe that it should be part of the medical imaging and that close collaboration with the radiology department is therefore essential.
Global awareness of the benefits of 3D Printing has been growing steadily over the past years. In Asia, the technology is not as widespread compared to the United States or Europe - but that looks likely to change soon, with India heading the vanguard on the adoption of the technology in particular. The Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences is among the first hospitals in India to set up their own 3D printing lab, and will hopefully inspire surrounding countries to adopt the technology.
Thanks to Medical 3D Printing, surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital in the United States have treated a young baby with an encephalocele: a rare disorder where part of the fetus’s brain starts growing outside its head in the womb.
Dr. Philipp Brantner is a radiologist at the University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland. In April, he presented his case study, "Hospitals and 3D labs. Why, how and what now?" at the 2017 Materialise World Summit in Brussels. His inspiring talk centered on his experience in deploying and running an in-hospital 3D printing lab at the Basel University Hospital together with his team. He shared fresh and useful perspectives on implementing a new workflow, its successful outcome, and how to keep the lab sustainable.
Recently, many hospitals have started making a shift, from using medical images primarily for diagnostic purposes, to integrating them in patient-specific surgical planning. This has created enormous advantages for hospitals and their patients, and is largely supported by the expanding role of the radiologist as imaging expert.
In April 2017, a young patient with serious cardiac deformity was the happy recipient of a successful heart surgery. His case was very complex and the surgery entailed high risks. What makes this surgery even more special however, is that it was one of the first to be performed under the patronage of Little Hearts of China. This charity project brings in selected young patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) from the western region of China and offers them advanced medical care that would otherwise not be available locally.
In addition to its many other benefits, Medical 3D Printing has revolutionized how the pathology of a disease can be visualized. In a growing number of hospitals worldwide, it has earned its rightful place as standard procedure, for instance, in the placement of standard knee implants or in using cardiovascular models for preparing congenital heart defects surgery.