3D Printing: a tool for precision and personalized medicine
3D printed models provide better spatial comprehension of patient anatomy, allowing selection of an optimal, patient-specific treatment strategy. Preoperative simulation and surgical planning using these models minimizes actual operating time and cost associated with the use of surgical rooms. The time that the patient has to remain under general anesthesia and other potential complications are subsequently reduced leading to shortened hospital stay and decreased need for follow up procedures. Models can also been used to design implants and prosthesis that are customized to each patient.
3D printed models allow patients who typically don’t have years of medical training to gain deeper understanding of the planned procedure and alternatives before deciding to proceed with a treatment. 3D models are also superb educational tools for teaching anatomy, pathology and surgical techniques to trainees. Bioprinting, which involves printing of live cells and viable tissues that can potentially be implanted into human beings, is currently an active field of research.