Customized Planning Model & Surgical Kits Derived from Patient CTScans
One of the many reasons I became interested in 3D Printing was it's potential for life saving applications in the Health Care industry. For the past 30 years, 3D Printing has found a valuable niche in medical device prototyping, medical education models, dental molds, prostetic design and recently custom titanium implants.
After experimenting with prosthetics made from 3D scans it became aparent that present material strengths, while sufficient for prototyping, were entirely inadequate for continual child or adult use.
While working with the technology, news stories and research articles emerged almost daily describing new and unique applications for 3D Printing often using low cost hobby level machines. What continues to perplexed me is why applicatons for the technology advanced so slowly? Studying the FDA approval pathway, it became clear that while patient efficacy is the defining value, numerous opportunities exist for applications for the technology.
Outside of medical education models and device prototyping, rapidly printed surgical planning models from high quality CTScans present a number of unique opportunities for trauma surgeons and their patients that may not be available using current state of the art stereoscopic computer imagry.
As materials evolve, opportunities exist for operators of large format 3d printers from recycled plastic and wood composites similar to TREX, a popular building material extruded into planks. TREX has reached worldwide acceptance in the stick built construction industry, however it relies on traditional time consuming, labor & distribution methods and is limited by the skill of the carpenters or craftsmen. 3D printing could greatly impact this field when combined with a sufficiently large build envelope of modular design, allowing for agile production of construction products wherever raw materials can be sourced.