3D printing can help surgeons to be able to operate faster and provide more detailed work. Long surgeries often come along with two problems: high costs and risk to the patient. Because surgery can cost approximately $100,- per minute, there is a market in finding ways to accelerate the process. The longer a surgery process takes, the higher the health risk will be for the patient.
That’s why Belgian doctors have created a way to 3D print replicas of a patients 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,” says 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’s Director of Marketing Julie Reece explains this technique in more detail in an article she wrote for Additive Manufacturing:
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.