The VUmc Cancer Center in Amsterdam has found a new way to improve its radiotherapy process, using 3D printers. The radiotherapy department uses 3D printers to protect the human body whilst undergoing radiation for tumors. Using customized 3D printed filters, the area around the tumor will not unnecessarily be hurt. 3D printed filters have an accuracy of 0.01 mm.
The radiotherapy team uses already available CT scans to provide for the 3D data, after which the data can be transferred into customized protection models. The models will fit better to the human skin and offer a better protection against radiation. A patient will not need to make an additional appointment for such a CT scan and with an accuracy of 0.01 mm these 3D printed models are much more accurate than their ‘old fashioned’ counterparts.
More precision is well needed for treatment of vulnerable areas around the ears, eyes and nose. In addition, 3D printers can also indicate bone structures around tumors. For instance, the technique has successfully been used during a robotic operation, in which a physical 3D display of the skull and tumor was needed.
Image credits: VUmc.