Feb 6, 2016 | By Kira

Dr. Brett Kotlus, an extremely accomplished physician and cosmetic surgeon based in New York City, has designed and developed two unique 3D printed surgical instruments for use during blepharoplasty (repair or reconstruction of the eyelid), which did not previously exist anywhere on the market. 3D printed in stainless steel, the 3D printed eyelid wand and 3D printed pinch forceps have already been purchased by fellow surgeons, and show just one more way that 3D printing is revolutionizing the medical industry.

“I’ve followed 3D printing in medicine very closely…and its clear that the technology of additive manufacturing will make a large impact on all industries, with medicine and surgery at the forefront,” said Dr. Kotlus. According to his impressive profile, Kotlus is one of the few physicians in the US that is Board Certified in Cosmetic Surgery and fellowship-trained and Certified in Oculofacial Plastic Surgery. In addition to having performed thousands of cosmetic procedures and serving on the Board of Trustees for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, he has also received numerous awards and research grants, and was awarded a patent for his custom aesthetic and reconstructive implant design system.

“One of the amazing benefits of 3D printing is that custom surgical implants, either synthetic or made of living tissue, can be created in a short period of time,” said Dr. Kotlus. He continued, “surgical tools and devices can be prototyped with 3D printers, cutting costs and making the design and fabrication process more accessible to doctors who have new and practical ideas.” A new and practical idea is precisely what sparked in Dr. Kotlus’ mind during an upper eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) procedure, and what prompted him to turn to 3D printing technology to bring this medical innovation to life.

The first eye-opening 3D printed medical instrument he designed is an Eyelid Wand, which assists in the evaluation and demonstration of blepharoplasty and facial cosmetic procedures. Though at its core, the eyelid wand is a surprisingly simple device—designed to lift excess eyelid skin or point to various facial features—prior to Dr. Kotlus’ invention, there was nothing like it on the market. Instead, doctors resorted to using Q-tips or even a bent paperclip on their patients. The 3D printed stainless steel eyelid wand is a much, much more elegant solution.

“It features a curvature that mimics the shape of the upper eyelid, used to lift heavy upper eyelid skin during consultation. The blunt tip allows the physician to gently point to various facial structures and the ruler handle is used for eyelid or other measurements,” explained Dr. Kotlus. As an added bonus, he included a convenient clip so that I can be worn in his lab coat pocket and easily accessed throughout the day.

The second 3D printed surgical tool is known as Pinch Blepharoplasty Marking Forceps, which were designed to determine, and gently mark with ink, the amount of excess eyelid skin to be removed during the surgery. It features two flat platforms, a rounded ball tip for gentle grasping, and a built-in ruler in the handle.

In a useful video (below), Dr. Kotlus shows users how to handle the Pinch Marking Forceps on a real patient, as well as how to prepare the 3D printed forceps prior to the procedure. Because the stainless steel 3D printing process leaves the surface with some small bumps, he explains, it is suggested to use a fine-grade emery paper to smooth down the pitting and ensure a uniform transfer of the ink markings.

Though we have seen a multitude of 3D printed medical models for surgical planning, 3D printed bone implants, and 3D printed prosthetics, Dr. Kotlus’ inventions may be the first 3D printed surgical instruments we’ve seen that are available to fellow doctors and surgeons through the easy and affordable services of Shapeways 3D printing. Both are 3D printed on-demand in bronze-infused stainless steel, with the eyelid wand retailing at $45, and the forceps going for $41.

Dr. Kotlus’ 3D printed surgical tools are unique their ability to assist in the evaluation, demonstration, and marking procedures of a blepharoplasty, all while improving patient comfort and adding a touch of sophistication to the doctor’s office. After all, I would much rather have a purpose-built, 3D printed eyelid wand waved around my face than a bent paperclip!

Dr. Brett Kotlus

“It's great to have a way to translate ideas into objects and refine them without the need for expensive molds,” said Dr. Kotlus, referring to the design and manufacturing advantages of 3D printing technology. “Looking forward to getting more concepts into creation!”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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