Enabling patient-specific care for everyone

Everybody and every body is unique.

The renowned 3D Planning and Printing solutions offered by Materialise have been designed to accommodate this uniqueness. Experts across the globe use our applications to visualize and analyze pathologies in 2D (X-rays) and 3D to provide you with custom solutions. Additionally, this patient-specific approach has proven to benefit both you and your surgeon: preoperative 3D planning results in an approach and device that will fit only you, while giving surgeons the option to visualize the surgery before even entering the operating room. On this page, you can learn more about what 3D Planning & Printing can do for you.

Contact us to find out more about patient-specific solutions: we can refer you to a clinician in your area.

From scan to surgery

The Materialise 3D-printed models and devices are image-based. This means that our patient-specific solutions always start with your medical consultant importing your CT or MRI scan in the relevant software application. Alternatively, he or she can send your scans directly to us so our specialists can transform the 2D image into a 3D visualization.

Next, our clinical engineers analyze the model and design the required guide or implant in such a way that it truly fits your anatomy. Additionally, they evaluate the bone quality and determine the ideal screw positioning to increase the chances of a better outcome. The preoperative 3D design is now ready for feedback by your treating doctor. Once evaluated and approved, the 3D planning is sent to production in our in-house medical production facilities.

The final 3D-printed model, guides or implants are sent to your hospital and can be sterilized to be ready for surgery.

What is 3D Printing?

  • 3D Printing starts with a 3D design that is turned into a real object
  • Materialise software is used to convert DICOM images into a 3D-printable file. Afterwards, the design is printed layer by layer on a 3D printer.
  • Because each print is build up uniquely, 3D printing is ideal for copying the patient’s anatomy
  • The technical term for 3D printing is Additive Manufacturing. However, the term 3D printing is used more often.

Learn more in the several 3D Printing Techniques (PDF, 8.4mb)

Image transfer

Preoperative Planning

Implant or guide design




    Our renowned 3D medical software allows surgeons to analyze, visualize and plan your procedure from all angles upfront. This means both you and your surgeon will enter the operating room better prepared. The surgical outcome can be predicted better, allowing the surgeon to concentrate on executing the operation to its best and even might reduce surgery and recovery time.


    Our 3D planning software is designed to save time in surgery by allowing surgeons to make key decisions before entering the operating room. Surgeons use our image-based software to plan each procedure virtually so as to avoid potential complications in surgery. Reducing surgery time also helps to minimize the risk of infections for the patients.


    Printing an anatomical model of e.g. a heart, kidney or shoulder pathology can help patients and their families to gain a better understanding of the issues. Moreover, it can be used as a communication tool between the surgeon and the patient to explain the planned surgical procedure, or even between the surgeon and the medical team preparing a complex surgery. In addition to communicating purposes, it offers a diagnostic and educational value.


    By offering you patient-specific solutions, we strive towards providing you with a guide or implant that fits your body; instead of adapting your body to a standard guide or implant.

    Moreover, published clinical data have already clearly indicated that preoperative planning combined with custom 3D-printed instrumentation and devices enable a better fixation. This, in turn, means tailor-made devices are less likely to require revision.

“I was always in pain. Whether I was standing or walking, it made little difference. And I was even in pain when lying in bed. It got worse and worse.
Now, I feel really great and what surprises me is that I don’t have any pain anymore. I can do everything now, I can bike and walk on stairs. I’m a bit reduced in my movements, but I can easily adapt myself to that.”
Mr. Theo Geene , first custom hip implant patient at the Sint-Maartenskliniek (The Netherlands)

“When they woke me up from the coma, I immediately realized my left arm was raw with pain. I thought to myself, I need a prosthesis. I always believed I would find a solution. They told me that there was a lot of damage and that a standard implant wasn’t an option for me. So I said, why can’t you make a custom-made one on a 3D printer? ”
Ms. Nathalie Dufaut Danjon , received shoulder implant following gunshot wounds

“I always thought my tumor was the size of a quarter and didn’t realize how large it was until I saw the [Materialise] model. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen by far. I’m looking forward to showing my friends.”
Bradley , looking for more information on how to best treat his heart tumor

“The engineers worked on it for months, I didn’t understand at first, but now I do: this has really been tailor-made for me, it can’t be used for anyone else. Fantastic, isn’t it, the cooperation between the professors and the businesses. Unbelievable, really.”
Betty , fell while on holiday and had an osteotomy surgery on her shattered elbow


3D Medical Software

Our hands-on medical software provides surgeons, engineers, and researchers with the most advanced toolkits for 3D Planning and Printing. By helping design devices that fit each patient’s unique anatomy and visualize surgical procedures before entering the operating room, Materialise enables health experts across the globe to achieve more accurate results in less time. Whether it’s a standard procedure or complex case: we’re always there to help the industry achieve the best possible results.

Anatomical models

Anatomical models help you, your family, and your surgical team gain a better understanding of your medical issue. At the same time, they help educating tomorrow’s medical experts on complex pathologies. Our 3D printing solutions are based on more than a decade of providing industry-leading quality and have become the go-to solution to create accurate 3D models based on medical scans.

Patient-Specific Implants

Based on the anatomical data from the patient and the surgeon’s requirements, Materialise can print hip, shoulder and cranio-maxillofacial implants and patient-specific guiding instruments that we designed for you specifically. Thanks to our extensive experience in computer-aided design (CAD) and the latest 3D technologies, we can design, print, and ship your patient-specific implant to your hospital.

Patient-Specific Guides

Custom guides are the link between 3D-printed implants and the actual patient. These 3D-printed tools are designed to match the exact planned position and angle of surgical interventions with the reality of your actual surgery. Patient-specific guides significantly simplify surgical procedures as they lead to a better understanding of the patient’s anatomy, help saving time and costs, and significantly improve the predictability once in the OR: advantages that clearly increase the chances of a better outcome.

“As standard implants are designed for the standard population, special cases don't leave room for good reconstruction. The contact with the Materialise engineers was very hands-on and we could work step by step to create an implant that was realistic for this specific surgery. This reverse shoulder prosthesis creates reconstruction possibilities for the future, with better conditions and better results.”

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“I think 3D Printing will clinically take us to the next generation of imaging. This is our future.”

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“I genuinely feel that digitally planning hip replacement cases is the safest, the most accurate and the most responsible way to prepare to operate on a patient for joint replacement surgery.”

“Doing a BiMax (bimaxillaire osteotomy) case is quite challenging and can easily take up to 2 hours in the operating room. With the SynpliciTi system, I can reduce that time to around 70 minutes, which is not only better for the patient, but also for me and the hospital.”

“The main added value is that we give patients a weight-bearing joint that enables them to move again, and as a result of the operation they can once again, participate in all social aspects of life. 3D Printing is a medical technology that is here to stay in orthopaedics, and that will be used more and more in everyday practice.”

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About Materialise

Materialise was founded in 1990, with the goal to enable new uses for the extraordinary potential offered by 3D printing. Headquartered in Belgium, with branches worldwide, Materialise has combined the largest group of software developers in the industry with one of the largest 3D printing facilities in the world. Our mission: to build innovative 3D printing applications that make the world a better and healthier place.

Our extensive experience in creating a variety of software solutions and 3D printing services allowed us to become the backbone for 3D printing in various industries; including healthcare, automotive, aerospace, art and design, and consumer goods.

Today, thousands of healthcare experts worldwide rely on the certified Materialise software and services to harness the full potential of Medical 3D Printing.

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Do you think you might benefit from our patient-specific solutions? Contact us to find to a clinician in your area.

Contact us to get a referral