Apparently a little problem for today’s medical students is that there are a lot of them while people are living longer, which means there’s less material for medical education. Of course this isn’t a real problem, as it’s basically the medical world’s goal to make us live longer, but those students have to learn their techniques in some kind of way. Monash University in Australia therefore found the answer: 3D printed body parts.
In a press release, they’ve announced that they have now brought a commercially available anatomical body parts kit to the market, which can be used by medical students and is not just useful, but also soft-effective. The cadaver has 3D printed items such as limbs, a chest, a head, abdomen and a neck. It, however, does not feature human tissue.
Professor Paul McMenamin, who is the director of the University’s Centre for Human Anatomy Education, said in a press release:
“For centuries cadavers bequested to medical schools have been used to teach students about human anatomy, a practice that continues today. However many medical schools report either a shortage of cadavers, or find their handling and storage too expensive as a result of strict regulations governing where cadavers can be dissected. Without the ability to look inside the body and see the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, it’s incredibly hard for students to understand human anatomy. We believe our version, which looks just like the real thing, will make a huge difference.”
He believes the kit could be useful for developing countries, where cadavers are not easily available, or are illegal due to religious or cultural reasons. They use a CT scan or a surface laser scanner to scan the body parts, after which those parts can get 3D printed using a plastic-like powder or just plastic. The result has a high resolution and uses accurate color reproductions, so says the university. They are currently seeking for commercial partners to bring their kit to the masses.
Image credits: Monash University.