MRI/ CT Scan Imaging Data and 3D Printing can save lives

Medical Imaging Technology

With the advancement in Medical science complex surgical procedures are being performed today which could not be performed a few years ago. The availability of Dicom(Digital Imaging and Communication in medicine) images -CT scan and MRI images has helped the surgeons delve into the depths of the human anatomy to identify and understand the pathological condition of the problematic area.

3d Printing Technology

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file, by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Depending on the applications different technologies can be applied, which enable us to digitally manufacture the required parts in thermoplastics/ resin/ sandstone/ metal/ ceramic/ nylon and other materials.

Using Medical Images to create 3D models

Even though CT/ MRI technology form the basis for diagnosis, physical 3d models do play an important role in preoperative planning. They help decide the right approach for implementing a surgical procedure thereby reducing the surgery time. Accurate models in hand, can play a pivotal role in helping the surgeons try the procedures on these models before implementing them in the operation theatres / on patients. 3D printing technology is the solution that provides accurate 3D models from Dicom images.

The process involves converting Scan data (Dicom images) to physical 3d model involves creating the digital 3D model of the part of interest with dicom images, repairing it to make a solid 3D printable model, slicing it into layers and using a 3D printer to create the physical model.

Applications of 3D Printed Scan Models

Applications of 3D printed models can be divided into invasive and non invasive categories. Invasive applications require materials like titanium/ chromium-cobalt/ PEEK/ PMMA etc which are accepted by the body, while the noninvasive materials need the models to be printed in cheap and accurate manner so that they can be used for planning or for creating molds.

> Surgical Pre-Planning

The digitally manufactured models are made accurately as per the Dicom images. These 3D printed models can be used in preoperative planning, where the surgical procedure is tried on the models. These models play a major role in Cranioplasty, Maxillofacial, oral, orthognathic surgeries and facial reconstruction. These 3D models are used by Orthodontists as well. Vascular surgeons using 3D models for preoperative planning is also on the rise.3D printed hearts were used to assess and prepare for the anatomical idiosyncrasies of individual patients in a children’s hospital in the USA.

> Custom Implants

3D models can also be used in determining the custom stent and implant design. 3D printed models have been used to determine the best approach to introduce stent into the organ. 3D printed custom implants made from various materials like PMMA, Titanium etc., are being used in today’s surgical procedures.

> Customized surgical Instruments

3D printed customized surgical instruments are being designed for specific type of surgeries. Eye lid wand and Pinch forceps have been 3D printed in stainless steel for use in oculofacial surgeries. 3D printing can reduce the design iterations and include complex shapes or structures as many anomalies can be corrected during modeling itself.

> Surgical guides

Dental surgical guides help determine the exact position for drilling and fitting the implants. Orthopedic surgical guides are used in fixing complex fractures, replacement of joints and spine surgeries. 3D printed guides can help the surgeons during surgical procedures as they are accurate.

> 3D Printed Surgical Molds

The 3D printed models are also used as moulds to create the replacement for the missing bone structure. This mold is printed in PMMA or any other hard material and is then used as a mould for biocompatible material to produce the missing parts. The 3D printed models are being used as moulds in various procedures in cranioplasty, dental care, maxillofacial surgeries, facial reconstructions and creating prosthesis.

> Patient Counseling

3D printed models are used in patient counseling. They are used by the doctor to discuss treatments with the patient. The models can be shown to the patients and the anatomy of the affected area can be compared to the healthy area in the human body. The procedure followed during surgery can also be explained to the patient.

> Anatomical Models for Training

3D printed models form an excellent tool for medical education and training. Specific medical  conditions, complex surgeries, reconstruction of organs or just human anatomy can be explained very effectively using 3D printed models. 3D printed models are also used for research purposes.

> Custom Prosthetics

3D printing technology is being used to make prosthetic limbs. Customized prosthetics can be manufactured as per the patient’s requirements. This helps in incorporating maximum functionality and comfort for the patient. 3D printed prosthetics are lighter in weight when compared to the traditional prosthetics making it more comfortable for the user.

> Bio Printing

3D Bioprinters are also being used in tissue engineering to print human tissues that can replace the damaged tissue in the human body. The tissue is either printed directly or around some object. This is achieved by creating the right cell structure for the particular tissue.

Examples of Specific Procedures where 3D Printing can help

  • Cranioplasty
  • Knee Replacements
  • Prosthesis
  • Face Reconstruction
  • Complex fractures

think3D Medical Use cases

  • Cranioplasty
  • Breathing Device
  • Surgery Pre-planning skull
  • Educational Models

think3D services with medical imaging

  • Dicom to STL Conversion
  • Physical Model
  • 3D Mold
  • Custom Devices
  • Educational Models

To get going with this, you just need to send the DICOM image folder or the 3d design file (ideally a file with extension – .stl / .obj) and get the output in a short time. For more information, drop an email to or call 040-30911007.

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