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Use of 3D printing in surgical interventions

SAS professionals create 3D physical models to improve surgical interventions.

A group of engineers from the Information and Communications Technologies (TIC) Sub directorate of the Andalusian Health Service in the province of Jaén have developed 3D physical bio models, which allow planning and personalize surgical interventions performed on the patients at the Hospital of the city of Jaén.

The fundamental objective in using impressions of 3D prototypes  in surgical interventions is to generate specific bio models for each patient, offering a personalized medicine service, This way will allow the surgeon to have a better knowledge of the anatomy of the patient to be treated. “This provokes an increase in the confidence of the specialized professional and makes the patient safer, as well it makes a the planning of the surgery much better, shortening their times”.

The bio models offer surgeons more information before the operetion, and they can study the patient’s characteristics in a reliable, intuitive and simple way.

For its part, the head of the TIC provincial team of Jaén, Carlos Ilia, has indicated that, to reach these specific models, the engineers start from a radiological exploration, a CT scan, performed previously to the patient, and that meets the necessary conditions to create the subsequent 3D model. “From here, the engineers work with surgeons and radiologists to analyze the anatomical area on which the bio model is required,” he said.

He also stressed out that the technicians design first a digital prototype, and it is verified if it fits the parameters expected by radiologists and specialists and if so, the printing is carried out, which again must have the approval of the surgeons.

So far, since the beginning in 2017, the printing of prototypes in 3D has been used in five different specialties: Thoracic Surgery, Otorhinolaryngology, Neurosurgery, Traumatology and Pediatric Surgery and have been present in almost 40 interventions in the Hospital of Jaén.

The developed bio models are veins, arteries, bones and some organs such as kidneys, larynxes, bronchi and skulls, among them the most numerous ones, are of veins and arteries for the specialty of Thoracic Surgery being used for lung cancer interventions.

They are followed by prototypes of bone lesions either by fracture or by tumour masses in bones, and also for structural malformations in the patient’s anatomy.

In addition to this application before and during the intervention can be used for other purposes such as communication between professionals involved in the preoperative process, doctor-patient communication to explain better the pathology and the approach thereof, and even in training for students or professionals.

The 3D bio models printing initiative was born within the ‘Tecnolab Health’ project, a laboratory of innovative actions, launched by Jaén professionals of the Information and Communications Technology Sub directorate of the Andalusian Health Service, whose objective is to generate a tangible transformation within the organization and health services provided to citizens, increasing quality and safety.

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