First 3D printed pill

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2015/aug/05/the-first-3d-printed-pill-opens-up-a-world-of-downloadable-medicine

Pink Pills

The first 3D-printed pill opens up a world of downloadable medicine

Now that the US has approved a 3D-printed drug, pharmaceuticals companies in the UK are hoping their patents will be next – from the pyramid-shaped pill-makers to the man who has done for drugs what Apple did for music.

With architects printing lumpy plastic houses, fashion designers printing oddly-shaped dresses and food companies printing dodgy-looking hamburgers, the hype around 3D printing can often seem like a novelty. But news that the world’s first 3D-printed drug has just been approved suggests that, beyond the realm of personalised plastic trinkets, the technology still has a huge amount to offer.

Developed by Ohio-based pharmaceutical company Aprecia, Spritam levetiracetam is a new drug to control seizures brought on by epilepsy. Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration this week, it employs the company’s trademark “ZipDose” technology, which uses 3D printing to create a more porous pill. Its structure means the pill dissolves more quickly on contact with liquid, making it much easier to swallow high doses than a conventional tablet.

The 3D printing process also allows layers of medication to be packaged more tightly in precise dosages, and it points to a future of more personalised medicine. 3D-printed pills could be custom-ordered, based on specific patient needs, rather than on a one-drug-fits-all approach.

“For the last 50 years, we have manufactured tablets in factories and shipped them to hospitals,” said Dr Mohamed Albed Alhnan, a lecturer in pharmaceutics at the University of Central Lancashire. “For the first time, this process means we can produce tablets much closer to the patient.” By making slight adjustments to the software before printing, hospitals could adjust doses for individual patients, a process of personalisation that is otherwise prohibitively expensive.

The porous pill technology could also have important benefits for other drugs, according to Marvin Rorick, a neurologist at Riverhills Neuroscience in Cincinnati. “In my experience, patients and caregivers often have difficulty following a treatment regimen,” he said. “Whether they are dealing with a swallowing disorder or the daily struggle of getting a child to take his or her medication, adherence can be a challenge. Especially for children and seniors, having an option for patients to take their medication as prescribed is important to managing this disease.”

While 3D printing has already been embraced in other medical fields – from printing new jawbones in facial reconstruction to custom-shaped teeth and other dental implants, as well as producing personalised prosthetics – this is the first time the technology has been approved for the production of drugs; and it won’t be the last time.

Researchers at the School of Pharmacy of University College London have been developing a technique to 3D-print pills in different shapes, from pyramids to doughnuts, using a technique known as “hot melt extrusion”. The different forms, which would be hard to manufacture using standard production techniques, release drugs at different rates. Their research has found that the rate of drug release is dependent not on surface area, but on the surface area-to-volume ratio. A pyramid-shaped pill, for example, releases a drug slower than a cube or a sphere, allowing absorption to be controlled.

While the Spritam pill similarly uses 3D printing primarily to change the physical structure of the pill, other researchers have been working on how the technology could be used to develop new drugs at a molecular level. Professor Lee Cronin at Glasgow University has been working on a “chemputer”, a sort of 3D-printing chemistry set, which can be programmed to make chemical reactions and produce different molecules. Describing the process as similar to what Apple did for music, he envisages a world where patients will be able to download the “recipes” for drugs and print them at home. In the future, he suggests, we won’t be buying drugs, so much as blueprints or apps.

theguardian.com

by  | Wednesday 5 August 2015

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3D printed models for kids’ operations

http://www.engadget.com/2015/08/01/boston-childrens-hospital-3d-printing/

Surgeons practice on 3D-printed models for kids’ operations

Surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital started using 3D-printed copies of patients’ affected body parts to prepare for procedures last year. Now, that move has helped save the lives of four children aged two months to 16 years old who suffered from life-threatening blood vessel malformation in their brains. Their condition gave ride to distinctive anatomies that one of the hospital’s neurosurgeon, Edward Smith, said were really tricky to operate on. So, the doctors used a combination of 3D printing and synthetic resins to conjure up copies of the kids’ deformed vessels, along with nearby normal counterparts and surrounding brain anatomy. That gave them the chance to practice extensively beforehand and reduce possible complications on the operating table.

Smith said the models allowed them to “view [the formations] from different angles, practice the operation with real instruments and get tactile feedback.” It was especially beneficial for three of the four patients, as they had arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) — their arteries and veins were all tangled up – that required the surgeons to cut blood vessels as quickly as possible, and in a certain sequence. Thanks to their preparations, the surgeons managed to fix the kids’ distorted blood vessels and cut surgery time by 30 minutes each. Smith and his colleague Darren Orbach now plan to use 3D printing to train younger doctors and for even trickier cases in the future.

engadget.com

by Mariella Moon | August 1st 2015 At 3:33am

Full skull reconstruction via 3D printing

http://www.medicaldaily.com/chinese-girl-becomes-worlds-first-receive-full-skull-reconstruction-3d-printing-343390

Chinese Girl Becomes World’s First To Receive Full Skull Reconstruction Via 3D Printing

A 3-year-old girl in China will finally be able to lift her head from the pillow after receiving the world’s first full skull reconstruction surgery via 3D printing technology. The toddler, referred to as “Han Han,” underwent 17 hours of surgery at the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province in China after suffering from a rare condition that caused her head to grow four times the normal size. The procedure, translated from Chinese as “whole brain shrinking plastic surgery,” involved a full 3D reconstruction and 3D printing of a new titanium skull to reposition her brain.

“CT results showed that Han Han’s brain was filled 80 percent with water,” said Dr. Bo of the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province, 3Dprint.com reported. “If she was not sent to hospital for treatment, Han Han would not have survived the summer. We had to first eliminate the infection in Han Han’s head because the brain wound area was too large, and we needed to do skin graft surgery and insert a shunt to help eliminate the infection, and remove the fluid from her brain.”

She was first diagnosed with congenital hydrocephalus at the age of 6 months. This type of hydrocephalus is present at birth and can either be caused by events or influences that occur during fetal development, or genetic abnormalities, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Typically in congenital hydrocephalus, the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Excessive accumulation of CSF leads to abnormal widening of spaces in the brain called ventricles. This creates potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain.

In infancy, the most notable symptom of hydrocephalus is a rapid increase in head circumference of an unusually large head size. For Han Han, the pressure of the excess fluid on the brain made her head weigh more than half her body weight, so much so she struggled to lift it from the pillow or get out of bed, the DailyMail reported. The toddler also developed medical problems, such as a thinning skull and poor blood supply. This prompted the family to take immediate action.

Chen Youzhi, Han Han’s father, was left to scramble for cash after the toddler’s mother left when she was 1 year old. Youzhi was able to collect 100,000 Chinese Yuan in donations from family and friends to meet the goal of 400,000–500,000 Chinese Yuan (approximately $64,000–$80,000) to pay for his daughter’s surgery. It was through online donations that Youzhi was able to get his daughter the life-saving surgery that would change her life.

Surgeons were able to use 3D data and a CT scanner to create models for 3D printing three titanium mesh skull implants that would together replace Han Han’s entire top portion of her skull. During the procedure, her scalp was peeled away from her skull and then attached to protective saline pads. Drainage tubes were then put in her head to slowly release the CSF. Lastly, the surgeons took the three 3D-printed titanium implants and inserted them into her head to recreate a new skull for her.

The world’s first 3D printer full skull reconstructive surgery was successfully completed once Han Han opened her eyes and was breathing before being transferred to the ICU for recovery. As she continues to grow, the titanium implants will become surrounded by her own bone, which will lead to the strengthening of the top of her skull. She is expected to make a full recovery.

3D printing has helped improve the lives of many infants like Han Han, including Gabriel Mandeville. The infant with epileptic seizures started to forget the fundamental things he was learning. Gabriel successfully underwent hemispherectomy treatment with a 3D-print brain replica to ensure his mental development and to help him become seizure-free.

The evolution of 3D printing has led the medical world to envision a new kind of future. Medical 3D printing began with devices such as hearing aids. Now there are 3D-printed implants, bone replacements, and soon human tissue. Advancements in 3D printing have helped change how people view medical illnesses.

medicaldaily.com

by  | Jul 16, 2015 02:17 PM

3D printed prosthetic jaw!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-20/melbourne-man-receives-titanium-3d-printed-prosthetic-jaw/6536788

3D printed titanium prosthetic jaw joint bone

Titanium, 3D printed prosthetic jaw implanted in Melbourne man in Australian first surgery

Surgeons have successfully implanted a titanium 3D-printed prosthetic jaw in a Melbourne man in an Australian-first operation.

It is hoped the success of the locally designed and tested part will lead to high-tech export opportunities.

The patient, 32-year-old psychologist Richard Stratton, was missing part of his jawbone including the left condyle, the joint to the skull.

He believed part of his jaw never grew properly after he received a bad knock to the jaw during childhood.

In the past few years, he has suffered increasing pain while chewing or moving his jaw and he has not been able to fully open his mouth.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr George Dimitroulis designed a prototype prosthesis that was refined and tested by experts at Melbourne University’s mechanical engineering department.

Dr Dimitroulis said that while there had been a handful of 3D-printed jaw operations worldwide, he was not aware of any that incorporated a titanium part and a 3D-printed plastic jaw joint.

“In terms of joint replacement specifically, what we call the TMJ – the temporomandibular joint – we suspect that this may be the first 3D-printed jaw joint in the world,” he said.

It was designed to protect the skull from a rubbing metal joint which would wear and erode into the cranial cavity.

“The beauty of this particular joint itself is that it was designed in Australia and manufactured [by an Australian firm] … and not just manufactured in the common sense, but 3D printed,” he said.

“It really makes the fit truly patient-fitted, truly customised, as opposed to ‘we’re close enough’ and it’s something that I think will become the norm in the future as technology [becomes] cheaper.”

Dr Dimitroulis said it was a great example of “smart Australia” and 3D printing would lead to “revolutionary” changes in jaw prosthesis surgery.

Richard Stratton before and after surgery

Sunrise of a whole new industry

Before the operation, Mr Stratton said he was excited to be “patient X on the Australian joint” and joked that he had put in an order for a “Brad Pitt” jaw.

He hoped many more patients would benefit from having their replacement joints 3D printed and personalised to them.

“It sounds a bit [like] science fiction … I don’t really understand 3D printing that much but it’s exciting,” he said.

“They have a 3D model of my skull and the fact that they’ve made the joint to fit that perfectly, I feel a lot safer in knowing that it’s not just a factory made, off-the-shelf joint.

“Hopefully all the time they’ve spent on their computers and designing my new jaw, hopefully that will make the short-term recovery better for me and also the longer-term outcome is that it will last a lot longer and hopefully work a lot more efficiently.”

Port Melbourne firm 3D Medical used powdered titanium that was heated and fused one layer at a time to print the prosthesis.

Technicians also used CT scan images to print a 3D plastic model of Mr Stratton’s skull and then refined the titanium part to provide a perfect fit.

While this part was manufactured in New Zealand, future parts will be locally produced.

Company chairman Dr Nigel Finch said about 30 versions of the part had to be printed during the customisation process but he predicted that any future adaptation would take much less time.

“It really is the sunrise of a whole new industry,” he said.

“I think that greater support, better understanding by the regulators and better understanding by hospitals and the healthcare system, will see the adoption of 3D medical implants and other technologies starting to become mainstream.

“Most of the implants that patients receive now are generic sizing, and of course nobody really is small, medium or large.”

New 3D printed titanium jaw part for Richard Stratton attached to a 3D printed version of his skull.

On-demand printing the way of the future

Dr Finch said the cost of the technology had come down to a “truly competitive” price point compared with conventional manufacturing of parts.

The use of highly-automated machines also eliminated much of the labour cost that had traditionally made Australian manufacturing uncompetitive.

“One of the things that’s really personally exciting for me is this whole idea about bringing a manufacturing base back to Australia and focusing around the digital aspect of it,” Dr Finch said.

“We currently have a model where the hospitals are carrying inventory of generic implants, and this is very costly on the hospital’s balance sheets, very costly on the healthcare system and I can see a future where we’re manufacturing parts on an as-required basis so we’re printing on demand.”

Melbourne University biomedical engineer, Dr David Ackland, said it was “quite unusual and unexpected” to be approached by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with a design prototype as computer simulations had mostly been performed on knee, shoulder and hip joints in the past.

“It’s very very important before you put an implant into the human body that you know that it’s going to be able to withstand the normal forces, the internal forces in the human body,” he said.

“We performed computer simulations [on the jaw prosthesis] to determine the joint loading and the loading on the implant and the screws, which of course the prosthesis would be subject to during biting and chewing.

“So we’ve done quite a comprehensive set of musculoskeletal modelling studies … to make sure that it doesn’t fail.”

Dr Ackland said 3D printing technology was still in its infancy so there were not a lot of customised components being developed or placed inside the human body.

“It’s incredibly exciting and there’s enormous potential for use of 3D printing technology to develop customised, patient-specific joint replacements and prosthetic components for a range of patients with different musculoskeletal disorders,” he said.

‘The excitement was unbearable’

Just after completing the five-hour operation, Dr Dimitroulis said he was “very proud” that three years of hard work had paid off.

“The excitement was unbearable I think, just at the last minute we thought it just wasn’t going to fit in but it just slid in nicely,” he said.

Dr Dimitroulis said patients with severe osteoarthritis of the jaw would benefit from the new implant and two patients had already signed on to receive one.

Mr Stratton said he found the pain and swelling confronting in the first few days after surgery but one month later and he was already able to open his mouth wider than before the surgery.

“The physiotherapist is really impressed and she works with these joints every day, and she says the range of movement … is a lot more than other patients that she’s worked with,” he said.

As for the “Brad Pitt” look, Mr Stratton has been clearly amused by his new chiselled jawline.

“People have have been really politely saying that it’s a huge improvement,” he laughed.

“I didn’t notice that I didn’t have a chin before, but people are now saying, ‘Wow, you’ve got such a great chin!'”

X-ray front shot

abc.net.au

by Stephanie Ferrier | 22 Jun 2015, 4:45am

Separated of twins, joined at the butt thanks to 3D printing technology

http://3dprint.com/71548/conjoined-twins-butt-3d-print/

twins2

Twins, Joined at the Butt, Will be Separated Tomorrow Thanks to 3D Printing Technology

3D printing has been used to change the lives of many people over the past several years. Whether it is for lending a hand in the rapid prototyping of products, creating prosthetic hands for children with upper arm differences, or allowing surgeons to perform high risk surgeries with much more ease than ever before, the technology is certainly providing ample benefit to society.

Back in February, we reported on a complex surgery that was undertaken in Texas to separate conjoined twins. To complete the surgery, a detailed medical model was created to aid surgeons in the delicate operation. Now doctors in China are doing the same.

twins3

Tomorrow (June 9), will be a huge day for one family in China, as their beautiful newborn conjoined twin girls will be separated from each other for the first time in their lives. Born on March 17 in Nanjing County of South Fujian, China, the twins were found to be conjoined at the buttocks area. In fact, they share part of the same digestive tract and portions of their anus. Like most surgeries which involve the separation of conjoined twins, it is an extremely risky and difficult operation.

The girls have been transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University, where the surgery will take place tomorrow. Surgeons opted to wait until the girls were 3 months old and weighed approximately 10kg in order to perform the risky surgery. In studies, this has been shown to be the best time to perform such an invasive procedure, as babies tend to be strong enough at this point, and their bodies are ready to heal on their own.

These twins are in good hands though, as in the past 15 years, the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University has successfully separated 7 sets of conjoined twins. On top of this, using CT scan data, the surgeons were able to create an accurate 3D printed replica of the twins which doctors were able to simulate surgery on. They have used this 3D printed model to perform a mock operation, and in the process were able to revise their “real” surgical plan to make it more efficient and safe. While it is the very first time that 3D printing was used in order to aid in the separation of twins at this hospital, the hospital has used 3D printing in the past for other surgeries.

The surgery will include the separation of the twins, as well as reconstruction of their perineums and the rectums.  Currently the twins share a little less than 1cm of the same anus. It will certainly be a difficult surgery, but with the help of 3D printing, the surgical team feels very confident.

As far as the cost of the surgery, it is very expensive, but the family got a helping hand from the “Angel Mother” charity, in the amount of 200,000 yuan (approximately $32,231).

twins1

Best of luck to these beautiful twin girls as they undergo quite an extensive surgery tomorrow. What do you think about the use of 3D printing in creating medical models for complicated surgeries like this? Discuss in the Conjoined Twins forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | JUNE 8, 2015

3D printing skin!

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32795169

Skin

L’Oreal to start 3D printing skin

French cosmetics firm L’Oreal is teaming up with bio-engineering start-up Organovo to 3D-print human skin.

It said the printed skin would be used in product tests.

Organovo has already made headlines with claims that it can 3D-print a human liver but this is its first tie-up with the cosmetics industry.

Experts said the science might be legitimate but questioned why a beauty firm would want to print skin.

L’Oreal currently grows skin samples from tissues donated by plastic surgery patients. It produces more than 100,000, 0.5 sq cm skin samples per year and grows nine varieties across all ages and ethnicities.

Its statement explaining the advantage of printing skin, offered little detail: “Our partnership will not only bring about new advanced in vitro methods for evaluating product safety and performance, but the potential for where this new field of technology and research can take us is boundless.”

A scientist with skin cells

It also gave no timeframe for when printed samples would be available, saying it was in “early stage research”.

Experts were divided about the plans.

“I think the science behind it – using 3D printing methods with human cells – sounds plausible,” said Adam Friedmann, a consultant dermatologist at the Harley Street dermatology clinic.

“I can understand why you would do it for severe burns or trauma but I have no idea what the cosmetic industry will do with it,” he added.

3D-printed livers

The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has pioneered the field of laboratory-grown and printed organs.

It prints human cells in hydrogel-based scaffolds. The lab-engineered organs are placed on a 2in (5cm) chip and linked together with a blood substitute which keeps the cells alive.

Organovo uses a slightly different method, which allows for the direct assembly of 3D tissues without the need for a scaffold.

It is one of the first companies to offer commercially available 3D-printed human organs.

Last year, it announced that its 3D-printed liver tissue was commercially available, although some experts were cautious about what it had achieved.

“It was unclear how liver-like the liver structures were,” said Alan Faulkner-Jones, a bioengineering research scientist at Heriot Watt university.

Printing skin could be a different proposition, he thinks.

“Skin is quite easy to print because it is a layered structure,” he told the BBC.

“The advantages for the cosmetics industry would be that it doesn’t have to test products on animals and will get a better response from human skin.”

But printed skin has more value in a medical scenario, he thinks.

“It would be a great thing to have stores of spare skins for burn victims.”

References:

bbc.com

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32795169

Relief through 3D printing

http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/6033/20150503/take-a-deep-breath-patients-find-relief-through-3d-printing.htm

TAKE A DEEP BREATH: PATIENTS FIND RELIEF THROUGH 3D PRINTING

3D technology is nothing new to medicine. For years, physicians have utilized ‘computerized tomography,’ known as CT scans, to create three-dimensional images of the human body. But now, 3D technology is moving being diagnosis to actual treatment through the use of 3D printing. And for patients suffering from the rare condition, tracheobronchomalacia, 3D printers can mean the difference between life and death, or should I say, life and breath.

Patients with tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) are born with weak tracheas, that all-important passageway that funnels air to the lungs. The condition affects about one in 2,000 children and in extreme cases, the trachea collapses. As you can imagine, the prognosis for such patients is grim. Such was the case for Kaiba Gionfriddo, a beautiful boy born with brown curls, matching eyes, and the unfortunate condition, TBM.

Fortunately for Kaiba, researchers from CS Mott Children’s Hospital, located on the sprawling campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, received approval to try out a new technology – 3D printing – to construct a splint that would support his weakened trachea until a time when it could support itself. They did this by customizing a flexible splint that fit around Kaiba’s trachea, providing support as he breathed, coughed, and sneezed. And most importantly, the devise was constructed of biomaterials that flexed to accommodate the rapid growth of an infant, and it will even eventually be resorbed by his body.

Kaiba was only three months old when the device was implanted. He was one of three infants suffering from severe TBM to be fitted with the flexible splints. Dr. Glenn Green, an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan, led Kaiba’s case and is part of the team whose ground breaking technology appears in this month’s issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

And tracheal splints are just the tip of the iceberg, as researchers continue to explore a growing partnership between 3D technology and medicine. The actual and potential uses of 3D printing in medicine include building customized prosthetics and implants, pharmaceutical research and drug delivery, and the fabrication of tissues and organs. As for the tracheal splints, they can be designed to fit the unique dimensions of each patient, constructed of biomaterials that accommodate growth and dissolve over time, and can even be produced onsite using 3D printing wherever patients in need may be. The medical applications of 3D printing are limitless.

Kaiba is now a healthy, thriving three-year-old. His mom recently summed up their experience saying that “It was scary knowing he was the first child to ever have this procedure, but it was our only choice and it saved his life.”

sciencetimes.com

May 03, 2015 05:30 PM EDT

3D printing impact on human life

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/meet-3-kids-alive-today-thanks-to-a-3d-printer/

kaiba-heart-kid-620x750-90746.jpg

Meet 3 kids alive today thanks to a 3D printer

A 3D printer saved the lives of three baby boys with the same life-threatening condition, their doctors report in the latest issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Kaiba Gionfriddo was six weeks old when he turned blue because his lungs weren’t getting enough oxygen. He was diagnosed with a terminal form of tracheobronchomalacia, a medical condition that causes the windpipe to periodically collapse and prevents normal breathing. With no cure and a low life expectancy, doctors told his mother April he may not make it out of the hospital alive.

Kaiba was one of the three babies who became the first in the world to receive 3D-printed devices that helped keep their airways open so they could breathe properly, thus saving their lives. “These cases broke new ground for us because we were able to use 3D printing to design a device that successfully restored patients’ breathing through a procedure that had never been done before,” Glenn Green, MD, an associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, said in a statement.

Tracheobronchomalacia affects about 1 in 2,000 children around the world, according to the doctors, and renders them unable to fully exhale. Using a 3D printer, Green and his colleagues were able to create and implant a customized splint around the airways of the three boys to expand the trachea and bronchus. This 3D printed device is made to change shape over time as the children grow, and eventually be reabsorbed by the body as the condition is cured.

The findings in the report suggest that this early intervention may prevent complications of conventional treatment of tracheobronchomalacia such as a tracheostomy, prolonged hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, cardiac and respiratory arrest, food malabsorption and discomfort.

Kaiba was the first to receive the implant three years ago and his doctors report that the splint has degraded and he appears to be disease-free. “Before this procedure, babies with severe tracheobronchomalacia had little chance of surviving,” Green said. “Today, our first patient Kaiba is an active, healthy 3-year-old in preschool with a bright future. The device worked better than we could have ever imagined.”

garrett-small.jpg

Two other children have also had success with the device.

Garrett Peterson received one a the age of 16 months. Garrett spent the first year of his life in hospital beds tethered to a ventilator, being fed through his veins because his body was too sick to absorb food.

Since receiving the device, he has not shown signs of any complications and is leading a normal life, able to breathe properly, doctors say.

Ian Orbich’s condition was so grave that his heart stopped before he was even six months old. He received a customized 3D-printed splint and is now doing well at the age of 17 months.

Green and his colleagues received emergency clearance from the FDA to do the procedures. While these three cases appear to be a huge success, the doctors noted that this technology will take time to put into widespread practice. “The potential of 3D-printed medical devices to improve outcomes for patients is clear, but we need more data to implement this procedure in medical practice,” Green said. The authors also acknowledge that potential complications of the procedure may not yet be evident.

Yet if you ask Kaiba’s mom, April Gionfriddo, the procedure was nothing short of a miracle. “The first time he was hospitalized, doctors told us he may not make it out,” she said in a statement. “It was scary knowing he was the first child to ever have this procedure, but it was our only choice and it saved his life.”

cbsnews.com

by ASHLEY WELCH, CBS NEWS | April 29, 2015, 2:05 PM

New face for a girl thanks of 3D printing

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/3d-printing-helps-give-girl-a-new-face-1.3014957

Violet Pietrok, playing with her father Matt, was born two years ago with a Tessier cleft, a rare deformity in which the bones that form the face have not fused properly. Thanks to 3D printing of models of her skull, Violet has begun a series of surgeries to correct the problem.

3D printing helps give girl a new face

Doctors practise on an exact image of face before repairing deformity.

The great thing about medical school cadavers is that they can’t die.

If a surgeon in training makes a mistake, there’s always next time. It is the last environment where medical errors have no consequences.

But 3D printing is changing that, giving even experienced operating room teams valuable practice on a model that looks and feels like the real thing. It has life-saving and life-altering implications.

Violet Pietrok was born two years ago with a rare deformity called a Tessier cleft. The bones that normally join to form the fetal face had not fused properly.

  • Watch David Common’s full story on The National Sunday April 5 at 9 p.m.

As a result, Violet’s eyes were set so far apart, her vision was more like a bird’s than a human’s. She also had no cartilage in her nose.

But the corrective operation is extraordinarily complex. So Violet’s family turned to one of the world’s leading reconstructive surgeons, Dr. John Meara, at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Violet Pietrok

He warned them of the danger of making sophisticated cuts through the skull, very close to the optic nerve. “They might be very close to the brain,” Meara explained in an interview. “So the ability to make these cuts on the model first and see the trajectory of a sawblade or where that cut would come through in relationship to the eye is absolutely critical.”

To get that model, the simulation team at Boston Children’s took multiple MRIs of Violet’s skull and replicated it on a 3D printer.

It took more than a day to print, but the model is exact. Even the density of the bone is precise.

 “We were actually able to do the procedure before going into the operating room,” Meara said.

“So we made the cuts in the model, made the bony movements that we would be making in Violet’s case and we identified some issues that we modified prior to going into the operating room, which saves time and means that you’re not making some of these critical decisions in the operating room.”

During the surgery earlier this year, Meara kept a model of Violet’s skull close by and referred to it as he went through the complicated steps of the operation. This successful surgery was just the first of several that will be needed to remake Violet’s face.

Other hospitals are interested

Boston’s success has prompted a lot of calls from hospitals around the world looking to set up their own 3D printing simulations to Dr. PeterWeinstock, who runs the Boston program.

He equates medicine with sports teams. Any team worth its salt, he says, practises before the game.

“We looked at that and thought, why is health care not doing that?  If you can see the patient before you see the patient, if you can do the operation before you do the operation, you have the opportunity to tailor your approach, to tailor your team to the specific environment and event. Think about that opportunity.”

Weinstock’s printer now runs 24/7 preparing for procedures at Boston Children’s — well worth the $400,000 investment.

The models are game-changing — giving a whole new meaning to personalized medicine. With each new print, the models are getting more sophisticated. Soon, the replicated veins and arteries will bleed as they would in real-life.

Boston Children’s has also found better recovery times. Patients of surgeons who’ve practised on the models typically leave hospital sooner and get back on their feet more easily.

Weinstock’s simulation program really took off a few years ago with Surgical Sam, the world’s first operable infant mannequin.

A model of an individual

But Weinstock wanted not just a model of generic human but one of a specific person.

That’s also what Adam Stedman needed. Adam was born witharteriovenous malformation or AVM, a tangled mess of arteries and veins in the brain that restricts blood flow and prompts progressively worse seizures that can cause brain damage.

He could have had a stroke at any moment, or a hemorrhage, his mother Amy tearily explained. But surgically tackling the web of tubes inside Adam’s brain was also potentially deadly, or it could leave him blind.

The 3D printer re-created Adam’s brain — including the AVM — something his surgeon could hold, manipulate, examine, re-examine and ultimately, practice on.

The surgery was a success — taking only a third of the expected time because the entire operating room team had done it before just hours earlier on the practice model.

When Adam came out of the OR, he smiled and his mother broke down. “He just has a blind spot,” she said in an interview in her Connecticut home. To her, that’s a big improvement.

“I honestly think that the 3D printing has the majority to do with that, as far as where they knew, where to cut and where not to.”

cbc.ca

by David Common, CBC News | Apr 04, 2015 5:00 AM ET

Dental 3D printer?

The world is still trying to figure out why every home would need a 3D printer, but in the professional world they continue to thrive. At the International Dental Show currently going on in Germany, Stratasys announced a new 3D printer that uses multiple materials at once to create startlingly realistic dental models in a single print run.
These Terrifyingly Real Teeth Were Made By a New Dental 3D Printer

The Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer is a lot bigger than the consumer-friendly desktop models sold by companies like MakerBot. But with 16-micron accuracy and a triple-jet system that lets it produce dental models with realistic looking gums, bones, nerves, and teeth, it’s designed for use in dental and orthodontic offices that need to be able to test dental appliances without having access to the actual patient.

The material used to 3D print the gingiva—or gums as they’re more commonly known—is even soft and pliable like the real thing which allows implants, bridges, and crowns to be tested and refined to ensure they won’t actually damage a patient’s real tissue when eventually installed.Given the current limitations of 3D printing the new machine can’t actually be used to create a false set of teeth for a patient to wear, but given how realistic these models look that doesn’t seem like it would be too far off.

GIZMODO.COM
by Andrew Liszewski |  3/10/15 12:09pm