Additive manufacturing pioneer 3D Systems has introduced its new On Demand Anatomical Modeling Service for medical 3D printing applications. The newly launched service provides medical professionals access to 3D printable and highly detailed anatomical models for improving surgical planning as well as patient education.
Within the medical industry, there are innumerable potential applications for additive manufacturing technologies. And though bioprinting and 3D printed implants might garner the most interest (and media hype), they are two areas that require extensive testing and qualification before they can be adopted on a grand scale. One of the more concrete applications for 3D printing in the medical field, which is currently being used in hospitals around the globe, comes in the form of 3D printing patient specific anatomical models.
These prints, often based on a patient’s CT scans, provide a visual and tactile model that can help surgeons to prepare for a given patient’s surgery and can make it easier for medical professionals to teach and educate patients about their body and physical health.
3D Systems, for its part, which has 25 years of experience assisting the medical community with surgical planning models and medical device manufacturing, is now aiming to make the production of these 3D printed anatomical models easier than ever with its On Demand Anatomical Modeling Service.
In short, the new AM service enables medical professionals to upload a 3D model (in STL, OBJ or PLY format) to the web-based platform. These models can be prepared using 3D Systems’ D2P software (which has been cleared with FDA 510(K) clearance) or other similar software. From there, users choose their desired print materials (depending on the application) and select the desired areas to highlight in the model.
With that information, the On Demand Anatomical Modeling Service can generate an instant quote. If the price is accepted, the user can order the 3D printed anatomical model with a single click. According to 3D Systems, the finished patient specific models should be delivered to the client within approximately five business days.
Evidently, for medical centres with in-house 3D printing equipment, the service might not be revolutionary, but for those looking to exploit the benefits of 3D printed anatomical models without investing in the technology and its maintenance, it does offer a remarkably simple solution.
“For more than 25 years, 3D Systems has assisted medical professionals through the combination of our anatomical modeling experience and our 3D printing expertise,” commented Katie Weimer, vice president of medical devices at 3D Systems. “The healthcare industry is seeing the benefits provided through 3D printed anatomical models, and we are dedicated to continuing to expand our healthcare offerings to meet market needs. With the launch of our new On Demand Anatomical Modeling Service, we are making 3D printed models easier and more accessible to a broader range of the healthcare community.”
To enhance its anatomical modelling service further, 3D Systems has also established a link between its D2P software and the On Demand Anatomical Models website, creating an end-to-end solution for transforming medical imaging data into accurate 3D models. In addition to providing 3D printed models, the D2P connection also provides a module for Volume VR that allows users to explore the patient specific models in a 3D virtual reality environment without pre-processing the data. In other words, users can explore the 3D model in detail in a VR setting, control layer visualization for the model and even cut cross sections through it. Other improvements include improved mesh creation options, import and alignment of external mesh file into patient scan and 3D PDF generation.
The new service acts as a complement to 3D Systems’ full-service surgical planning and anatomical modeling solution, Patient-Specific Anatomical Modeling. This platform is well suited for producing models for diagnostic purposes as well as pre-surgical planning. The new On Demand Anatomical Modeling Service has applications for pre-surgical planning and educational purposes.
Other companies offering a similar anatomical modeling service include Materialise, which recently became the first company to receive FDA clearance for software intended for 3D printing anatomical models for diagnostic use, and Stratasys, which last year partnered with Philips to advance its 3D printed medical models.