Surgeons Begin Using 3D Printing to Help Explain Patients’ Conditions to Them

Bioprinting continues to make significant strides towards a process that will involve dispensing cells onto biocompatible scaffolding using successive layers to generate tissue-like 3D structures and organs. Along the way, however, there will be a number of interim steps that can also benefit the healthcare community.

An excellent example of this is highlighted in a new study Physical Models of Renal Malignancies Using Standard Cross-Sectional Imaging and 3-Dimensional Printers: A Pilot Study. The authors of the study, who work in the Department of Urology at Tulane University School of Medicine; were looking for a method of providing 3-dimensional models of patient’s kidneys based on cross-sectional imaging. According to Jonathan Silberstein, Assistant Professor of Urology, providing such a model “may aid patients, trainees, and clinicians in their comprehension, characterization, localization, and extirpation of suspicious renal masses.”

A common problem that urology physicians frequently encounter is not having patients fully understand the scope of their problem when the situation is explained based on having 2-dimential illustration. Whether the illustrations are based on computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) it makes little difference in the patient’s understanding. In essence, “the primary limitation with such reconstructed views including the representation of a 3-D image on a 2-dimensional screen permitting only a view of one plane at a time.” The study group felt that a far more realistic representation of the kidney could be provided with the use of an additive fabrication approach like that of which 3D printing could offer. … (Read more)

Source: 3Dprint.com