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Paper-Based 3D Printing Reduces Patient’s Surgery Time

| 3D Printer Material, Medical Technology, News | August 6, 2013

3D Printing in Paper

A paper skull printed on an Mcor Iris 3D printer

Doctors in Belgium are using Mcor’s Selective Deposition Lamination (SDL) paper-based 3D printing technology to produce accurate physical models of patients’ bone structures. These models serve as surgical guides for metal implants which results in surgery times being reduced by as much as an hour or more.

Saving time during surgery is critical, so surgeons at Belgium’s Cliniques universitaires saint Luc, Universite catholique de Louvain (UCL) reconstruct a patients skull before the procedure so that operating time, and risk, is reduced.

“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 (OMFS Lab, UCL). “We open the patient up, slide in the device, check the fit and start the patient’s recovery.”

Mcor Iris 3D Printer

The Mcor IRIS 3D prints in true color using regular paper

Mcor paper IRIS 3D printers are used to create a full-sized physical model from the patient’s digital CT scans, which are used to precisely shape metal inserts that fit the patient’s remaining bone structure. Maxilim software is used to create the bone structure that the surgeon’s are interested in. The insert could be a plate that supports a damaged jaw or a titanium mesh to repair a fractures eye socket.

The team previously used a ZPrinter machine which utilized a powder-based printing process, but it needed extensive post-processing clean-up using cyanoacrylate. These toxic chemicals required a special licence for their handling and storage which increased costs and didn’t fit in with healthcare and environmental aims.

The Mcor 3D printers use regular office paper, require no post-processing and can be recycled after use. Olszewski says that the Mcor paper models cost about half of the ZPrinter models and he estimates that over the last 5 years they have saved around 20,000 Euros per year since the switch.

More on this story can be found here.

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