Application of 3D printer in precision medicine

At present, the fierce COVID-19 outbreak is affecting everyone’s heart, and medical experts and researchers at home and abroad are working hard on virus research and vaccine development. In the 3D printer industry, “the first 3D model of new coronavirus pulmonary infection in China has been successfully modeled and printed”, “medical goggles have been 3D printed,” and “masks have been 3D printed” have attracted wide attention.

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3D printed model of COVID-19 pulmonary infection

3D打印医用护目镜

3d-printed medical goggles

This isn’t the first time 3D printer has been used in medicine. The introduction of additive manufacturing technology into medicine is seen as a new revolution in the medical field, which has gradually penetrated into the application of surgical planning, training models, personalized medical devices and personalized artificial implants.

Surgical rehearsal model

For high-risk and difficult operations, preoperative planning by medical workers is very important. In the previous surgery rehearsal process, medical workers often need to obtain patient data through CT, MRI and other imaging equipment, and then convert the two-dimensional medical image into realistic three-dimensional data by software. Now, medical workers can print 3D models directly with the help of devices such as 3D printers. This can not only assist doctors to carry out accurate surgical planning, improve the success rate of surgery, but also facilitate communication and communication between medical workers and patients on the surgical plan.

Surgeons at Belfast city hospital in Northern Ireland used a 3d-printed replica of a kidney to preview the procedure, completely removing a kidney cyst, helping to achieve a critical transplant and shortening the recipient’s recovery.

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3D printed 1:1 kidney model

The operation guide

As an auxiliary surgical tool during the operation, the surgical guide plate can help medical workers to implement the operation plan accurately. At present, surgical guide plate types have included joint guide plate, spinal guide plate, oral implant guide plate. With the help of the surgical guide board made by 3D printer, 3D data can be obtained from the affected part of the patient through 3D scanning technology, so that doctors can obtain the most authentic information, so as to better plan the operation. Secondly, while making up for the shortcomings of the traditional surgical guide plate manufacturing technology, the size and shape of the guide plate can be adjusted as needed. By doing so, different patients can have a guide plate that meets their real needs. Nor is it expensive to manufacture, and even the average patient can afford it.

Dental applications

In recent years, the application of 3D printer in dentistry has been a hot topic. In general, the application of 3D printer in dentistry mainly focuses on the design and manufacture of metal teeth and invisible braces. The advent of 3D printer technology has created more possibilities for people who need braces to be customized. In different stages of orthodontics, orthodontists need different braces. 3D printer can not only contribute to healthy tooth development, but also reduce the cost of braces.

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Both 3 d oral scanning, CAD design software and using 3 d printer dental wax, fillings, crowns, and the significance of the digital technology is that the doctors don’t have to do it yourself making model gradually and denture, dental products, undertake the work of a dental technician, but to spend more time to return to the diagnosis of oral disease and oral surgery itself. For dental technicians, although far away from the doctor’s office, as long as the patient’s oral data, can be customized according to the doctor’s requirements for precise dental products.

Rehabilitation equipment

The real value brought by 3d printer for rehabilitation devices such as correction insole, bionic hand and hearing aid is not only the realization of accurate customization, but also the replacement of traditional manufacturing methods with accurate and efficient digital manufacturing technology to reduce the cost of individual customized rehabilitation medical devices and shorten the manufacturing cycle. 3D printer technology is diversified, and 3D printer materials are various. SLA curing 3D printer technology is widely used in rapid prototyping in the medical device industry due to its advantages of fast processing speed, high accuracy, good surface quality and moderate cost of photosensitive resin materials.

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Take the hearing aid housing industry, which has realized mass customization of 3d printer, for example. In the traditional way, the technician needs to model the patient’s ear canal to make an injection mold. And then they use uv light to get the plastic product. The final shape of the hearing aid was obtained by drilling the sound hole of the plastic product and by hand processing. If something goes wrong in this process, the model needs to be remade. The process of using a 3d printer to make a hearing aid begins with the design of a silicone mold or impression of the patient’s ear canal, which is done through a 3d scanner. CAD software is then used to convert the scanned data into design files that can be read by a 3d printer. Software allows designers to modify three-dimensional images and create the final product shape.

3D printer technology is favored by many enterprises because of its advantages of low cost, fast delivery, no assembly and strong sense of design. The combination of 3D printer and medical treatment gives full play to the characteristics of personalized customization and rapid prototyping. A 3D printer is a tool in a sense, but when combined with other technologies and specific applications, it can be of infinite value and imagination. In recent years, with the continuous expansion of China’s medical market share, the development of 3D printed medical products has become an irresistible trend. Government departments at all levels in China have also introduced a number of policies to support the development of the medical 3D printer industry.

We firmly believe that the continuous development of additive manufacturing technology will bring more disruptive innovations to the medical field and medical industry. Digital 3D printer technology will also continue to deepen the cooperation with the medical industry, to promote the medical industry to intelligent, efficient and professional transformation.


Post time: Feb-23-2020