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3D Printed Human Organ Models Help Surgeons Prepare

| Medical Technology, Model Making | July 11, 2013

Mark Ginsberg 3D Printed Heart

Mark Ginsberg holds a photopolymer replica of a heart. Photo: David Scrivner/Iowa City Press-Citizen

When local doctors and surgeons need a 3D model of a patient’s organ to prepare for risky surgery they go to Mark Ginsberg, a jewelry store owner in Iowa City. Mark operates what he calls a “boutique” manufacturing facility located above his store that has two 3D printers.

The 3D model that he is holding in the above picture belongs to a patient at the University of Iowa and is used to plan the steps needed for successful surgery long before surgeons will operate. This particular patient is a young child with a hole in the heart who will be operated on by 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 explained to the press-citizen.

3D Printed Photopolymer Heart Model

The patient's heart model was used by doctors to prepare for risky surgery

Turek provided a CT scan of the patient’s heart and Ginsberg’s team then turned the CT image data into a 3D model which is 3D printed in a photopolymer material.

He would usually charge between $900 and $1,500 for this service, but has been making them for free in order to show how valuable they can be to aid doctors. Besides cardiac surgery, Ginsberg has already provided 3D models for physicians in a variety of disciplines including otolaryngology, neurology and orthopedics.

If U of I doctors were not able to have a local 3D printing service to create their models they would have to use other companies further afield, which would take much longer. They would also be less able to deal with issues that might arise during the process.

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