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Published on December 9th, 2016 | by Geetika Bhasin

URMS researchers develop 3D printed organs simulations for advanced surgeries and medical training

The University Of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) has developed 3D printed human organs for simulation processes that very closely resemble the real organs. SIMPLE or Simulated Inanimate Model for a Physical Learning Experience, is a program headed by urology professor Ahmed Ghazi and neurosurgeon Jonathan Stone at the URMC.

Surgeries will no longer be dependent on plastic replicas of human organs. SIMPLE has devised these life-like organs that can be dissected and poked like the real thing. Medical scans and computer graphics are used for the 3D printing of these organs which is then injected with a hydrogel that has a human-like consistency.

This breakthrough is attributed to 3D printing largely. The development work begins with the conversion of images obtained from MRI, CT, or ultrasound scans into (CADs). The CAD files are then converted to 3D print molds of the organs. And finally, the molds are induced with a hydrogel and frozen.

The SIMPLE program allows surgeons and medical students to update their skills and learn new surgical technologies. Medical students would train on 3D printed models that are close to the real organs.

For replicating the human organs, a complete environment had to be created so that the surgical process could be replicated fully. Hence the team assembled parts of the human body that included artificial tissues of the skin, fat, muscles, and the surrounding organs. Artificial blood vessels were hooked to a red dye so that they bled when they were cut.

Stone and Ghazi built a simulation of a gall bladder surgery so that the students could learn all the processes from the scratch to the removal of the stones. These simulations are as close to the real operations as possible which have led the other staff to believe that real surgeries are being commenced.

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