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article image3D printing help surgeons hone skills for real-life surgery

By Kathleen Blanchard     Jul 7, 2013 in Science
Mark Ginsberg, an Iowa jewelry store owner and manufacturer, has partnered with physicians to help surgeons practice for the real thing before they ever go into the operating room, using 3D printing.
Ginsberg is the owner of M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art whose manufacturing facility is above his jewelry shop where two 3D printers are housed.
In a partnership with a variety of specialty physicians including otolaryngology, neurology, orthopedics and now cardiac surgeons, Ginsberg is creating copies of human organs for surgeons, that he ‘builds’ from CT scans.
The DesMoines register reports Ginsberg recently created a tiny photopolymer heart for University of Iowa surgeon Joseph Turek.
“This way, they can hold the actual heart in their hand, the physiology of that heart, the rendering of that heart, and pregame the direction of the tools, the angle of the tools and how they’re going to attack different vessels,” Ginsberg said.
Ginsberg is making the images free of charge to prove how useful they can be for use in medicine. He says typically he would charge between $900 and $1500.
The Global Times reports Matthew Wettergreen, assistant director of rapid prototyping program and lecturer at Rice University, said 3D technology "allows us to view 3D printing as something that will change all aspects of our lives and each individual person." It isn’t just medical applications that the infant technology will impact.
The hope is that the printing technology can be simplified to allow anyone to use it; even people with no training, Wettergreen said.
Researchers recently made a trachea for a young boy born with a rare genetic disease. Without the help of the printing technology that was also based on CT scan for exacting the fit for the infant, he would have died.
The technology also helped a little girl born with a rare crippling disease. Researchers developed a ‘jacket’ that enabled the 2-year old to use her arms.
For medical applications, such as making human organs for testing before ‘real-life’ surgery, the cost saving is enormous compared to other high-tech approaches.
Other uses for 3-D printing in medicine include:
Making organs for patients awaiting transplant: Dr. Ibrahim Ozbolat at the University of Iowa who is heading a project to engineer human tissue from 3D printers using ‘bio-ink’ believes the notion is not at all far-fetched.
Diabetes treatment: Regulating diabetes is another potential application for 3-D printing that might also be one of the most promising.
Dr. Ozbolat is also working on growing an organ like the pancreas that could be transplanted anywhere in the body to help regulate diabetes.
Dental care: 3D printing could also make it dental care cheaper and more efficient. Scanning the mouth and then making dentures, bridges, crowns and other orthodontic devices could be accomplished less invasively and without the need to make physical molds of a patient’s mouth, with the use of Digital Dentistry".
Now doctors in Iowa are able to prepare for ‘real-life’ surgery with the help of an unlikely team player – thanks to Mark Ginsburg who is providing his 3D printers free of charge. Surgeons can see the organs they are going to operating and hone their skills before they ever go into surgery.
More about 3D Printer, Surgeons, Mark Ginsburg, 3D printers in medicine