Tag Archives: medical treatment

Shape Up Medical School! 3D Printing Instead of Human Cadavers

Medical School 3D Printing

Medical School students have long used human cadavers in their training for diagnosis, treatment and surgery before they begin practicing with real patients. With improvements in 3D printing technology, realistic artificial body parts can be produced rather than relying on corpses. The U.S. military is currently evaluating this opportunity.

Such artificial body parts would “ideally not be actual biological tissues,” but instead would consist of materials that could physically simulate the feel of flesh and bone. Success in printing out entire body part sections containing bone, muscle, skin and blood vessels could lead to lower medical training costs and cut back on the need for animal or human cadavers.

“If such technology were possible, a wide variety of human anatomy sections could be printed on demand,” according to a U.S. Defense Health Program solicitation for small business issued on May 11.

The 3D printed artificial body parts would also ideally allow for normal CT or MRI medical scans, so that physicians could practice interpreting the scan images before diving in with scalpels. The U.S. military effort could also presumably benefit American physicians and medical schools back on the home front.


Via LiveScience.

Medical School photo by uonottingham used under Creative Commons license.

3D Printed Legs: Giving Amputees the Power of Personal Expression

3D Printed Prosthetic Leg

The mission at San Francisco-based Bespoke Innovations is to bring more humanity to people who have experienced the loss of a limb, simply stated on their website as: “Because Every Body is Different.”

Founded in 2009 by an Industrial Designer and an Orthopedic Surgeon, Bespoke is part of the movement towards individualized and innovative medicine. Again, from their website:

Each of our bodies is unique, as are our tastes and styles. Humans are anything but one-size-fits-all, and we want to recognize that fact. We achieve this by creating products that allow our clients to personalize their prosthetic legs. Our hope is to enable our clients to emotionally connect with their prosthetic limbs, and wear them confidently as a form of personal expression. Our products turn something ordinary into something amazing.

3D Printed Prosthetic Leg


Bespoke shares a case study of a woman named Deborah:

In 2004, Deborah lost her lower leg in a motorcycle accident, changing her life from that moment forward. Initially, Deborah was fitted with a standard prosthetic limb in order to regain some of the basic functionality from her life before. Later, she purchased a ‘running leg’ and resumed competitive running through the Challenged Athletes Foundation. She now swims regularly, runs in marathons and is currently training for her first triathlon.

Although the prosthetic limb returned much of the mobility and activity to her life, the titanium hardware and mechanical fittings comprising the new leg simply could not represent her individuality or uniqueness. In 2010, Deborah met with Bespoke Innovations, who presented her with the opportunity to have a custom ‘Fairing’ made. The Fairing, a product that results from a process developed by Bespoke, recreates Deborah’s unique body shape, while allowing her to express her personal style and fashion sense.

How it Works

Bespoke Fairings™ are custom coverings for an existing prosthetic leg, precisely designed to fit the body through 3D scanning technology, and 3D printed to express personality and individuality never before possible. Fairings typically sell for under $5,000.

The video below shows the 3D printing process.

Bespoke has been featured in Bloomberg BusinessWeek and other major publications.

Below is video from Mashable discussing the design and customization process.



Futuristic Medicine: 3D Printed Jaw Implant Rescues 83-Year-Old Woman

Dr. Ivo Lambrichts Displays 3D Printed Jaw

In a groundbreaking first in the medical field, a team from the University of Hasselt has created a method for using 3D printing to fabricate a functioning lower jaw implant that rescued their patient from a massive infection.

“The introduction of printed implants can be compared to man’s first venture on the moon: a cautious, but firm step,” said Professor Jules Poukens of BIOMED.

The patient was an 83-year-old woman who was suffering from a major infection in her mandible. Traditional treatments, such as removing the lower jaw, would result in greatly decreased quality of life. Luckily, this medical team of doctors from the University of Hasselt, Belgium, partnered with engineers from Xios University College, SIRRIS, Xilloc Medical BV in Belgium, and the department of Cranio-, Maxillo-Facial surgery of Orbis Medical Center Sittard-Geleen in The Netherlands to develop an innovative treatment using 3D printing.

“Computer technology will cause a veritable revolution in the medical world. We just need to learn to work with it,” added Professor Jules Poukens. “Doctors and engineers together around the design computer and the operation table: that’s what we call being truly innovative.”

Pictured above and below, Dr. Ivo Lambrichts holds the 3D printed mandible. It was fabricated using a titanium powder in only a few hours. Typical methods to create implants usually take days.

Within 1 day after surgery, the patient had normal functioning speech, swallowing and movement.

Congratulations to this team for their major achievement!

3D Printed Jaw Implant


Via UHasselt.

3D Printed Nano Objects: New World Record for Micro Printing

A team from the Vienna University of Technology set a new world record this week: 3D printed nano objects in just 4 minutes. Their process, called two-photon lithography, uses a focused laser to harden liquid resin.

Applications? Consider how this process could be used to make micro objects for biomedical research and treatment.

Photo above is a human figure smaller than a grain of sand. Photo below is a detailed cathedral about 50 microns in length.

Read more and see additional photos at Reuters’ World in Nano.