Liesbeth Kemel July 8, 2014

I’ve previously told you about a facial reconstruction story of a man falling off a balcony while he was on vacation. The same way that doctors in the UK were able to restore Jon’s face to the way it was before the fall, doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland have been able to restore soldiers’ faces by using Mimics Innovation Suite and 3-matic for 3D Printing prosthetics and implants for soldiers wounded in IED blasts.

Capt. Gerald Grant, service chief of the 3D Medical Applications Center at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, holding a 3D-printed cranial model.
Capt. Gerald Grant, service chief of the 3D Medical Applications Center at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, holding a 3D-printed cranial model.

Mimics Innovation Suite allows the doctors to have a personalized approach that can restore a patient's face close to what it was. "We use posttraumatic scans, so we know what they look like after they've been injured," says Capt. Gerald Grant, service chief of the 3D Medical Applications Center at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, "A lot of times, if someone has an injury on the left side [of their face] we can mirror the right side, overlay it, and rebuild. When people have midfacial fractures, you can't really do that."

3D visualization software like Mimics helps the staff  design 3D-printed models.
3D visualization software like Mimics helps the staff design 3D-printed models.

To solve this problem, some military branches have started scanning soldiers before they are deported. This way, in case a soldier is injured on the battlefield, the doctors could later on base the reconstruction on what he/she looked like before war. By using the Mimics Innovation Suite, the patient-specific information (e.g. CT or MRI scans) can be accurately visualized, modeled and thoroughly analyzed in 3D. Furthermore, it enables and facilitates the design of customized, perfectly fitting implants and plates directly onto the patient models, which can subsequently be exported for printing in various materials, such as titanium.

3D-printed model.
Here's a 3D model printed at Walter Reed. These models help doctors visualize patient's anatomy and are designed using Mimics Innovation Suite.

These medical applications truly show the future of personalized medicine and underline our efforts to make a better and healthier world. For a brief report on Walter Reed's use of 3D printers, check out WJLA's news story:

For a more detailed look at the 3D Medical Applications Center at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, watch Stars and Stripe's video:

What else is possible with 3D modelling and printing in the medical field? Find out on our website!
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