GE Healthcare and Formlabs have entered into a partnership to increase the accessibility of 3D printed, patient-specific anatomical models. In the medical sector, patient-specific models based on medical imaging data have multiple uses, from practitioner training to surgical preparation to patient communications.
Through the collaboration, GE Healthcare and Formlabs will combine their respective solutions to facilitate the transformation of medical imaging data into physical 3D printed models. Up until now, the process of preparing scan data for 3D printing has been labour intensive, requiring hours of manual work. By leveraging GE Healthcare’s Advantage Workstation (AW) advanced visualization tools, however, the partners can speed up the printing preparation process substantially—from hours to minutes.
From the production angle, Formlabs’ Form 3B 3D printer and PreForm print preparation software—as well as over 20 proprietary resins—offer medical professionals a versatile solution for medical model 3D printing. Other features, including the ability to control and monitor prints remotely and rapid support removal, will enable medical users to speed up the 3D printing process even more.
As per the agreement between GE Healthcare and Formlabs, the companies will offer an exclusive bundle to radiologists that includes GE Healthcare’s AW software and Formlabs’ hardware and materials. Formlabs will also provide a GE Healthcare exclusive offering for training to help medical customers in North America and Europe to fully exploit its additive solution. The training session will consist of an onsite, two day training.
“When time is of the essence, GE Healthcare solutions help clinical imaging specialists get the diagnosis correct quickly and push the critical information they create into the hands of the broader care team,” commented R. Scott Rader, General Manager of GE Healthcare Additive Solutions. “At the same time, patients in the information age are playing a more critical role every year in their care, but simply presenting imaging data to patients as grayscale ‘slices’ through the body can create more confusion than answers.
“The virtual reality renderings clinical imagers see every day in radiology reading rooms on AW can now be exported via AW 3D Suite in seconds, imported into Formlabs PreForm, and printed right at the site of care to add the sense of touch to what members of the care team see. This first step with Formlabs can help break down time and cost barriers to adoption of on-premises printing while empowering richer communication amongst care teams and their patients.”
Gaurav Manchanda, Director of Healthcare at Formlabs, added: “Formlabs is proud to collaborate with GE Healthcare, a true pioneer and leader in medical imaging, as both organizations share an aim to support the practice of medicine and the pursuit of precision health. This collaboration represents an important milestone for the medical 3D printing community and will hopefully serve as a catalyst for its growth. Our clinical customers should be able to serve more patients, more efficiently, with trusted, reliable, and intuitive technologies. We are excited to see how this collaboration and other innovations may lead to improved quality of care and patient satisfaction, as well as financial benefits for healthcare systems.”
The GE Healthcare/Formlabs bundle will be targeted to radiologists specializing in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, neurology and other areas.