by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | November 27, 2017
CHICAGO -- When planning surgery, 3-D-printed anatomical models are useful, but more realistic, functionally-accurate models are needed for training and device testing.
Stratasys unveiled its BioMimics service at the RSNA annual meeting on Monday, which 3-D prints replicas of complex anatomical structures.
“Customers want models they can operate on,” Michael Gaisford, director of marketing for medical solutions at Stratasys, told HCB News. “[These models] replicate the mechanical properties such as feel and touch of anatomy.”
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This service is offered to the North America market through Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, which has locations in Minnesota, California and Texas. The models are initially designed to replicate the heart and bone structures like the spine, but vascular anatomies are expected to become available early next year.
BioMimics uses Stratasys’ PolyJet 3-D printing technology and multiple materials to mirror the complexities of both soft tissue and hard bones. Physicians at The Jacobs Institute in Buffalo, New York and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, as well as a spinal medical device company, provided feedback to ensure the models are as realistic as possible.
A manufacturer can use these models to test its devices as well as train physicians on how to use the devices. Cadavers and animal models have historically been used for these purposes, but that was associated with certain restrictions.
“Every cadaver is different,” said Gaisford. “[BioMimics] allows you to create a controlled program for training and testing.”
Surgeons cannot use these models for surgical planning because designing them to be patient-specific would be too cumbersome. But Stratasys’ conventional 3-D printed models are adequate tools for that indication.