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3D Printers Help Surgeons Prep for the OR

Before heading into the operating room, surgeons and medical residents at The University of Kansas Hospital are getting life-like practice.

The hospital uses 3D printing technology to create replicas of patients’ surgical sites. Instead of using prefabricated products off of a shelf, data from magnetic resonance imaging or a computerized tomography scan can be converted into a customized printed product. Filaments used in the printer mimic the density and texture of the body part being printed.

Physicians then can use the printed models to practice upcoming surgeries. For example, neurosurgeons can print out a 3D model of a particular patient’s brain to plan and rehearse brain tumor and aneurysm procedures before entering the operating room, reducing surgery times.

The technology also enables medical residents to take a hands-on approach to learning and improves patients’ confidence before surgery.

The hospital is one of a select few in the Unites States to own a 3D printer in-house, giving surgeons immediate and tailored access to the technology, according to the UK Hospital website.

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About the Author

Michelle Rosenfeld is senior writer/editor at America's Essential Hospitals.

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