In an announcement made by a Dubai Health Authority (DHA) official at the GITEX Tech week, all Dubai hospitals will be equipped with 3D printing applications by 2017. This will include the use of 3D printing equipment, prosthetics, and molds for pre-surgical procedures and simulation techniques.
All 3D printing processes will be planned out so that they can be implemented by next year. This was stated by Dr. Mohammad Al Redha, Director of the Organizational Transformation (OT) at the DHA. He further stated that the implementation of this strategy will lead to the reduction in cost, speedy application of procedures, and it will provide assistance to the doctors in the pre-surgery stages.
This technology has many other implementations. It would allow customization of prosthetics and creation of patient-specific models based on CT scans. This would help the doctors in understanding the extent of the patient’s problem and would help them prepare for the surgery.
Dr. Shatha Saif, from DHA, gave an explaining the practical use of the 3D printing services for surgical procedures. She said that in the case of a skull fracture of a patient, they could develop a 3D model of the skull. In this procedure, after the scanning was complete, the skull model was 3D printed using the same plastic component that is used to make Lego pieces. This 3D model enabled the doctors to understand the exact extent of the damage caused to the skull and perform the surgery accordingly.
As of now, only plastic is being used for 3D printing, though ceramic and titanium uses are also being explored. This could be extremely beneficial for the dental treatments. With the rapid expansion of technology, the doctors hope that someday they could be using the real bone and cartilage parts by extracting them from the body of the patient and growing it back using stem cells. The doctors in DHA are confident that they will find greater uses of the technology that will be beneficial in treating the patients.