Category Archives: 3D Scan

How 3D Printing Is Revolutionizing Surgery

One of the most-common ways professionals use 3D printing is as a method to create rapid prototypes of potential products. But the ability to produce quick, affordable, and precise models can have a much bigger impact than getting the fit of an iPhone case just right. Over the last year, doctors have started using 3D-printed body-part replicas to help them prepare for complicated surgeries that they might not have otherwise been able to perform.

For doctors, capturing 3D models of surgical sites is already part of normal medical-imaging procedures, but printing those images allows doctors to see the sites with more clarity than ever before. The typical treatment for kidney cancer, of which there are 64,000 new cases in the U.S. each year, is surgery. The procedure is extremely delicate and must be completed quickly. Earlier this year, a team of doctors at Kobe University in Japan converted CT (computer tomography) scans of tumor-containing kidneys into 3D-print-ready models. Practicing on 3D models has allowed doctors to more-precisely target the affected areas, and cut the time that they must restrict blood flow from 22 minutes down to 8. As of April, the team had produced individualized scale kidney models for ten patients.

In more extreme cases, practicing on scale 3D models gives doctors the confidence necessary to operate on otherwise inoperable tumors. Surgeons at the Hospital Sant Joan de Deu in Barcelona, Spain had been through two failed attempts to remove a child’s tumor before they decided to try working with a 3D-printed likeness of the tumor. The patient has a common childhood cancer called neuroblastoma, which forms in nerve cells in the adrenal glands (which sit above the kidneys), chest, spine, and neck.

Doctors used a multi-material 3D printer to produce two models: a replica of the tumor with surrounding organs and a version of the patient’s abdomen without the tumor, so they could see what he should look like after a successful surgery. The team practiced on the 3D model for about a week-and-a-half before successfully removing the tumor. The hospital has since commissioned 3D models for two more patients.

Credit: Hospital Sant Joan de Deu

Credit: Hospital Sant Joan de Deu

In some instances, 3D prints can offer surgeons insight that might change their surgical plans for the better. Cardiologists at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center study and treat congenital heart disease in children. After 3D printing a model of a three-year-old patient’s heart last July, doctors Matthew Bramlet and Karl Welke realized that they could perform a surgery that would leave the child with two ventricles (the main chambers of the heart), while the previous plan would have left him with only one. According to Welke, traditional imaging techniques, including MRIs and echocardiograms, give doctors only vague shadows of what the heart looks like; 3D printing, on the other hand, presents a level of detail of that’s much closer to what doctors will actually encounter in the operating room.

Bramlet’s ultimate goal is to build a Library of Hearts that other doctors can use as a reference for congenital heart defects. He’s asking for pre- and post-op CT scans and MRIs of defects, which he will upload into a database of 3D-print-ready models. Other cardiologists with access to a 3D printer (ahem, or a 3D printing marketplace like Shapeways) can reproduce them.

3D Printed Bone Model

Right now, most of these hospital-based 3D prints are pricey and/or require partnership with another technical institution to complete. The neuroblastoma team in Barcelona worked with Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Meanwhile, making a 3D-printed at Kobe University can add as much as $1,500 to costs. So ingenuitive doctors are turning to more-affordable DIY methods to replicate necessary body parts. Mark Frame, a doctor in Glasgow, used freely available 3D modeling software to convert CT scans of a patient’s fractured bone into a print-ready model. He uploaded his design to Shapeways and received a scale model of the forearm bone within a week and for only £77 (about $132). A scale model would have otherwise cost him around $1,200.

Often doctors are unable to experiment with new techniques freely, as time, cost, and availability work against them. But the increased accessibility of 3D printing through services like Shapeways is removing all of those barriers in one fell swoop, giving practitioners—and their patients—chances they’ve never had before.


 

Getting 3D Body Scanned: A MAD Odyssey

Shapeways has been doing full 3D body scans at the Out of Hand/Hands On Interactive space at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in NYC for a couple of months now and I decided recently to go for one of my own. Upon arrival I was amazed by the Formlab Desktop 3D Printers and gallery of 3D Printed objects on display. The scanning process took no more than one minute where I stood still on a spinning circular apparatus which spun while what looked like a Xbox Kinect motion capture precisely scanned the details of my body. It was a fun and pleasantly surprising experience. 

Afterwards you enter your email address where Shapeways sends you a email of the file of your scan where you can order a mini 3D printed figurine of yourself in any of the 30+ materials currently available on Shapeways. I ordered my scan in full colored sandstone and it arrived within a week of placing my order. The Out of Hand exhibition will run until April 2014. If you’re in the city I highly recommend dropping by MAD to have a hands on experience with 3D printing or get scanned like I did.

 The actual print came out well but the facial details could have been better. An alternative to a 3D scan would be to try our ShapeMe app where you can easily make a model of your head and add it to a body. Next time I would try putting a 3D print of my head on the body of a ModiRaptor Dino. The figurine makes for a great gift, paperweight, or just a instant conversation starter because you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.


 

3D Print a Venus de Milo of Your Very Own

Ever wanted a historic work of art but did not have the ready cash to purchase the original?  3D printing to the rescue once again thanks to a recent 3D scanning project by Cosmo Wenman entitled ”Through A Scanner, Skulpturhalle.”

3D Print a Venus de Milo of Your Very Own

“The Skulpturhalle Basel museum in Switzerland has an incredible collection of more than 2,000 high quality 19th and 20th century plaster casts of important ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. The Skulpturhalle has given me permission to 3D scan sculptures of my choosing…”

Now you can purchase 3D prints of Cosmo’s high quality scans from his Shapeways shop and own a little piece of history, made with lasers!


 

Capture the World in 3D: Structure Sensor on Kickstarter

These are exciting times for pixels and atoms alike. Yesterday was the launch of the Structure Sensor campaign on Kickstarter. In just over 24 hours the Structure developers, Occipital in San Francisco, have quadrupled their funding goal and raised nearly $400,000 with 43 days left to go. And for good reason. With a tap of the screen the sensor lets you measure a room, make a 3D model from real life objects and send the files directly to your iOS device.

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