Tag Archives: medical

Belgium Doctors Use Mcor 3D Printing to Save Precious Time in Surgery

Paper-Based 3D Printing Used by Medical Team to Create Detailed Bone Structure Models

There are two issues with long surgeries: cost and risk to the patient. Surgery cost approximately $100 per minute, which means there is a business opportunity for shortening surgeries without reducing efficacy. Also, the longer a surgery lasts, the greater the health risks to the patient, especially in sensitive operations on the brain or other major organs.

In Belgium, 3D printing is offering doctors a chance to shave hours off in the operating room by creating an exact replica of a patient’s bone structure as a surgical guide.

“With each procedure, we easily win an hour in the operating room, and that’s a major benefit for the patient.” – Professor Raphael Olszewski, a surgeon and head of the university’s oral and maxillofacial surgery research lab at the Cliniques universitaires saint Luc, Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium.

Mcor 3D Printing Belgium Surgery

These doctors are using paper 3D printing from Mcor Technologies, an approach that can 3D print in millions of colors and nearly any additive shape.

Staples Mcor 3D Printing multicolor a

Related: Mcor 3D Printing on Paper Creates Photo-Realistic Objects

In a piece authored by Mcor’s Director of Marketing Julie Reece, this innovative medical technique is explained in more detail.

The surgeons employ paper 3D printing technology from Mcor Technologies to recoup hours from traditional surgical procedures. Working from the digitally scanned contours of patients’ bones, doctors push a button to create full-size 3D physical models they can use as surgical guides.

Since the model is a facsimile of the patient’s actual physiology, surgeons can use it to precisely shape metal inserts that fit along a patient’s residual bone. The insert might be a plate that supports a damaged mandible or a titanium mesh for reconstructing a damaged eye socket. Without 3D physical models to work from, surgeons would be forced to rely on time-consuming trial and error to shape the metal implants and risk potential tissue damage.

Eco-Friendly Solution

The Belgium-based medical team is not new to 3D printing, but did make a switch in 3D printers. They had previously employed a ZPrinter from ZCorp (acquired by 3D Systems) that uses resin and powder, and converted to the Mcor 3D printer that uses paper with water-based adhesive. One benefit to the doctors is that Mcor provides an eco-friendly and non-toxic solution. Moreover, the cost to 3D print a patient model is about half of what it costs on the ZPrinter.


Recent News about Mcor: Staples Launches 3D Printing Challenge for Mcor 3D Printers with €1000 Prize


When Will We See 3D Printers Make Their Way Into Our Homes?

3D printing has hype and controversy, but what about adoption?

This is a guest post by UK-based Laser Lines Ltd, whose bio is at the end of the article.

Earlier this year it was announced that Maplin Electronics would be the first UK retailer to stock a home 3D printer. With all the hype and controversy surrounding this technology, it’s left many wondering if 3D printers will be the next big gadget to make their way into every home.

3D printing is the process of printing layers of material, usually plastic, on-top of one another to build up a 3D object. The Velleman K8200, which retails at £700, allows customers to 3D print any object they want from the comfort of their home, from a chess piece to mobile phone case. The plastics come in red, black, white, orange, green, yellow and pink, costing £30 for 1kg of the resin. Certainly an interesting addition to any home office but isn’t this a rather expensive way of reproducing items that would ordinarily cost just a few pounds?

The idea of everyday consumers being able to access 3D printers has already caused controversy in the US following the announcement of printable handgun blueprints online. The handgun, which would have been made from plastic if successfully produced in this way, could have gone undetected by standard security scanner.

3D Printed Gun Liberator

Another widespread concern about 3D printers in the home is the likelihood of copyright infringement through the reproduction of products. Users would potentially be able to produce a 3D scan of a product and then using this scan blueprint re-create the object precisely at home.

Outside of the home however, 3D printing technology has been having far greater success. Manufacturers are able to benefit from quick prototype production, enabling sketched concepts to be swiftly tried and tested. The aerospace industry has already started producing fully functional parts via 3D print technology too, with NASA known for their frequent use of the procedure to make lightweight engine and shuttle parts. 3D printing has the potential to completely transform production supply chains, particularly when it comes to producing small parts that would have usually been shipped from one manufacturer to another.

NASA Space 3D Printing

There are incredible medical implications of this printing process too. Professionals believe that, ultimately, 3D printers could be produced to print living materials in place of plastics. Layering cells alongside a medical scaffolding substance called hydrogel, it should be possible to print the basis of human organs such as a liver or kidney, before leaving them to grown into the fully formed structure. Soon it will also be possible to print sophisticated human tissue specifically for pharmaceutical testing – which means risk free clinical testing and trials (though again a hugely controversial idea).

Organovo Pink Sheets Secondary 3D Printing

In conclusion, perhaps 3D printers will see their way into the homes of those who can afford such a novelty, but for the time being the real advantages will be found in manufacturing on professional scale machines. Even then 3D printing has a long way to go before it’s embraced by everyone.

About the author: This article is written by UK-based Laser Lines Ltd, a bespoke 3D printing company that have been providing 3D printing solutions for over 20 years. Visit their website to browse through their collection.

Laser Lines Ltd 3D Printing

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Top 9 Medical Applications for 3D Printing – Epic List

3D Printing Medical Heart The Body Shop

How 3D Printing is Changing the Face of the Medical Industry

The list of medical applications for 3D printing was originally compiled by the team at 3D model marketplace CGTrader and has been edited for publication here.

Recently 3D printing has been a hot mainstream trend, but there are thousands of people who are still not aware of this mind-blowing technology. Obviously, 3D printing is being carefully watched by scientists, designers, futurists, and hobbyists. No doubt, it will change our lives; 3D printing is already reshaping them. In the long run, 3D printing may have the most impact in the medical field, where extrusion of living cells instead of plastic material in a 3D printer has led to bioprinting.

Here is a completely mind-blowing list of the top 9 ways 3D printing has already changed all the branches of the medicine and what to expect in the future. Moreover, this article touches upon a controversial topic of artificial organs. Keep reading!

1. 3D Printed Hearing Aids

3D Printing Medical Hearing Aids

Thousands of people do not realize that they have already become a part of 3D printing revolution by simply wearing hearing aids.

98% of hearing aids (more than 10 million) are 3D printed today. Hearing aid manufacturing began to adopt 3D printing technology in 1998 and it has been a significant improvement to manufacturing. The process has been shortened to 3 steps: scanning, modeling, and printing. One machine is able to produce 30 hearing aids in one hour and a half.

More coverage:

2. Digital Dentistry Brings 3D Printing Into the Dental Office

3D Printing Medical Dentistry

3D printing’s contribution to the dental industry has been game-changing. Scientist Andrew Daewood, who works in London’s Wimpole Street, notices that before the 3D printing has become the mainstream, “dentists have been using it for 10 years, to make things that really can’t be made in any other way.”

3D printing helps to improve quality and speeds up the production. Technology enables the customer to get a transparent 3D printed teeth aligner for day-to-day use, on one’s way to the dentist 3D printer is already printing out a new dental implant as well as dental crowns, bridges, stone models and a variety of orthodontic appliances.

More coverage:

3. 3D Printing Body Parts and Bone

3D Printing Medical Skull Replacement

Earlier this year, an American patient received a radical surgery in which 75% of his skull was replaced with a 3D printed implant. This material was not only biocompatible but also a bone-like. Scott DeFelice, President and CEO of Oxford Performance Materials, announced that his company has serious plans that between 300 to 500 patients in the U.S. alone could have skull replacement surgeries each month.

Last year an 83-year old woman has received the very first titanium jaw implant manufactured with 3D printer.

3D Printing Medical Splint

In another story, a 3D printed biopolymer of windpipe was surgically sewn as a splint to open a baby’s airways. After 2 to 3 years it will be fully absorbed in the body.

More coverage:

4. The Miracles of Prosthetics: 3D Printed Face and Children Hands

3D Printing Medical Prosthetics

Injuries and disease can cause debilitating health conditions for people, to the point where a prosthetic limb or other body part is necessary to maintain quality of life.Thanks to 3D printing, prosthetics have become easier to customize and produce. Here are three particularly inspiring cases.

Eric Moger was the first person to start a life once again with 3D printed face.

3D Printing Medical Face

A famous Robohand project has proved that anything is possible. The idea was a goal to reach by Richard Van As from South Africa and he finally come up with the concept how to produce necessary hand prosthesis quickly, quite cheaply, and make it accessible to the wide society.

3D Printing Medical Robohand

Meet Buttercup, the first and only bird that has 3D printed leg prosthesis.

Thanks to 3D printing and devoted designers, Buttercup has experienced the freedom of walking for the first time. Moreover, this duck is the worldwide superstar, that got an award for honours. Just creepy amazing.

Get Rid of Itchy and Stinky Plaster Casts

3D Printing Medical Casts

Were you jealous of kids who broke an arm but then got all their friends to sign their cast? With 3D printing technology, the traditional plaster cast is being replaced by a light, breathable, washable and recyclable design. And, of course, stylish.

In the U.S., a bone fracture occurs every 5 seconds. Enter the Cortex Exoskeleton cast designed by Jake Evill, a graduate from the Architecture and Design School in New Zealand. With a 3D scan, the cast can be 3D printed onsite at the emergency room.

More coverage:

5. 3D Printing and Growing a Bionic Ear

3D Printing Medical Bionic Ear

When researchers from Princeton and John Hopkins get together, expect something big. In this case, a team of researchers developed a bionic, artificial ear. With the help of 3D printing, the team created a skeletal structure which is seeded with cartilage cells, and 10 weeks later, you have a fully formed ear!

More coverage:


6. 3D Printing Stem Cells Paves the Way to Artificial Organs

3D Printing Medical Stem Cells

3D printing enabled a group of Heriot Watt University scientists to produce clusters of embryonic stem cells. The scientists used the method of valve-based printing in order to keep these cells in high level of viability, to stay accurate to produce spheroids of uniform size and to maintain their pluripotency that addresses to differentiation into any other cell type.

3D Printing Medical Stem Cells

In the picture above you can see aggregated embryonic stem cells after 24 hours (left) and after 48 hours (right). Artificial organs are still in the near future, but this achievement is extremely significant for drug testing purposes while using artificial human tissue or even printing cells directly inside the body.

3D Printing Medical Cartilage Scaffolds

More coverage:


7. 3D Printing Endless Blood Vessels Threads

3D Printing Medical Blood Vessels

Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany developed a technique to 3D print artificial biological molecules to form the shape of blood vessels. This technology is still quite imprecise for the fine structures of capillary vessels, so the scientists use the laser to zap the molecules and to form the material.

3D Printing Medical Blood Vessels

In other findings, UPenn and MIT researchers found sugar as the best agent to 3D print blood vessels without any seams.

More coverage:


8. New Skin, Courtesy of 3D Printing

3D Printing Medical Skin

Skin graft transplantation is nothing new in the medicine, but now 3D printing technology is enabling scientists to produce artificial skin. Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a method of loading skin cells and various polymers into 3D printer to create thick layers of skin.

In other research, scientists from the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina aim to print skin directly onto burn wounds. Professor James Yoo and his team were highly inspired to develop a portable bioprinting system to help address injuries in the battlefield, where around 30% of injuries involve skin damage.

More coverage:


9. 3D Printed Organs: A Fiction or The Great Achievement of The Next Decade?

3D Printing Medical Kidney

18 people die everyday in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant. Some researchers have embarked on a bold goal of 3D printing artificial organs.

In one example, surgeon Anthony Atala demonstrated an early-stage experiment at a 2011 TED Talk, where he printed a prototype human kidney.

In other research, Wake Forest Institute For Regeneration works on more than 30 different replacement tissues and organs, including bladder, cartilage, trachea and heart healing therapies. Using similar technology to Atala, a young patient received an engineered bladder transplant, the first lab-grown organ to be implanted into a human.

The world’s first artificial liver is already on its way. A team at Heriot Watt University led by Dr. Will Shu are running experiments with this goal in mind, again using 3D printing in the manufacturing process.

3D Printing Medical Liver

Finally, San Diego-based Organovo team has already managed to create micro-livers that are half a millimeter deep and and 4 millimeters wide. The researchers used a gel to build three types of liver cells and arranged them into the same kind of 3D cell architecture found in a human liver. The company’s ultimate goal is to create human-sized structures suitable for transplant, but they might need more capital.

More coverage:



That’s it! 9 amazing ways that 3D printing is revolutionizing modern medical research.

Please share, RT and add your comments!


Thanks again to CGTrader for compiling this amazing list. Read their original post here.

Cover photo: The Body Shop Kevin Hand

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Thanks for reading in April!