3D Operations, Inc. (3D Ops) and Erlanger Health System have partnered to conduct the world’s first hospital-wide study of printing 3D models of patient-specific anatomy to help surgeons plan procedures before entering the operating room.
The study will encompass all Erlanger surgical departments to establish ways that 3D printing can improve surgeries and patient outcomes. Preliminary research shows that 3D models replicating specific body parts greatly enhance patient outcomes, and this hospital-wide study will clearly establish many points of value for both patients and surgeons.
The 3D models are exact replicas of organs that doctors can use to plan surgery or practice medical procedures. The 3D printer uses images from patients' MRI or CT scans as a template and creates a model from layers and layers of rubber, plastic, or other synthetic materials. The models can also help train medical students and demonstrate complicated procedures to patients.
The study will be conducted over the next six months at Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga. “We are thrilled to be working at the forefront of this revolutionary technology with 3D Ops,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, president and CEO of Erlanger Health System. “There is no question 3D printing will change the way surgeons plan for their procedures, improve patient satisfaction and outcomes, and enhance medical training at hospitals around the world.”
“The results of this extensive study will clearly establish the value of 3D printing in improving patient outcomes,” said Keith Campbell, president of 3D Ops. “We believe these efforts will positively impact the lives of thousands of patients and their families.”
In addition, this study will establish new standards and protocols for using MRI, CT scans and other imaging methods for creating the 3D printed models. “We want to greatly reduce or eliminate exploratory surgery by using this amazing technology in pre-surgery planning,” stated Blaise Baxter, MD, of Tennessee Interventional and Imaging Associates, Erlanger’s imaging team.