Stratasys has introduced a new 3D printer model, the J750 Digital Anatomy system, targeted squarely at the medical industry. The 3D printer leverages the company’s existing multi-material PolyJet 3D printing technology to produce 3D printed anatomical models that are ultra-realistic in terms of feel, responsiveness and biomechanics.
The 3D printer will enable medical professionals to produce increasingly accurate anatomical models that can be used for surgical planning and medical training. Traditionally, medical training has relied on the use of cadavers, animals or standardized models. More recent solutions, such as virtual reality models, have offered advances in the field of medical training but have still presented limitations. Having the ability to produce realistic 3D models made from materials that mimic the feel and responsiveness of the human body could therefore offer several advantages.
“We believe in the potential of 3D printing to provide better health care, and the Digital Anatomy 3D Printer is a major step forward,” said Eyal Miller, Stratasys Healthcare Business Unit Head. “We’re giving surgeons a more realistic training environment in no-risk settings. We also anticipate this will enable medical device makers to improve how they bring products to market by performing design verification, validation, usability studies and failure analysis with these new models.”
Stratasys has also released a series of new materials to go with the J750 Digital Anatomy 3D printer, including TissueMatrix, GelMatrix and BoneMatrix, which are suitable for mimicking cardiac, vascular and orthopedic structures, respectively. Another accompanying product, a Blood Vessel Cleaning Station, is also being released to easily remove support materials from inside printed blood vessels.
The final key to the system’s efficiency is Stratasys’ GrabCAD software, which offers users in the medical sector over 100 pre-sets for anatomical applications. This makes it easy to integrate varying materials, textures and hardnesses that mimic the right anatomical elements.
The J750 Digital Anatomy 3D printer is aimed at the medical market and is expected to be adopted primarily by medical device companies and academic medical centers. In the case of the former, the 3D printer will enable medical device companies to bring products to market faster and to drive the adoption of new technologies. At academic medical centers, the 3D printer will enable safer and arguably more effective training.
To date, the PolyJet-based 3D printer has been installed and tested at a number of medical organizations, including the Jacobs Institute, which explored the use of the 3D printer for recreating key vascular components for advanced testing and training.
“3D printing has been wonderful for recreating patient-specific anatomy compared to cadavers or animal models; however, the final frontier for organ model realism has been live-tissue feel and biomechanical realism,” explained Dr. Adnan Siddiqui, Chief Medical Officer at the Jacobs Institute in Buffalo, New York. “That’s exactly what the Digital Anatomy 3D Printer gives us. We believe these models give us the best opportunity to recreate human physiological conditions to simulate actual clinical situations and to study new devices to establish their effectiveness before introducing them to patients.”