Sep 27, 2016 | By Benedict

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University in Great Britain have, with the help of industry partners, created a 3D printed replica of a human body with functioning heart and lungs. The model will be used to prepare surgeons for real life surgery.

For trainee surgeons, making that first incision into a real human body is a huge step, and one that requires bravery and skill. To prepare young surgeons for that moment, Richard Arm of England’s Nottingham Trent University has devised a 3D printed model of a human body, easier to obtain than a cadaver, and almost as lifelike. Created with a mixture of silicone gels and fibers, the 3D printed body can be sliced open just like the body of a real patient, giving doctors the practice they urgently require before they attempt the real thing.

“By enhancing the learning experience of surgeons, we can ensure they are better prepared for real life situations where their skills and knowledge are relied upon to save people's lives,” explained Professor Tilak Dias, a supervisor of the project at Nottingham Trent University.

To create the 3D printed patient, CT scans of real hearts, lungs, and blood vessels were obtained to give Arm and his team the necessary data to create accurate 3D printed replicas, while different grades of silicone were used to provide each organ with a realistic texture. Different parts of each organ were also engineered to have different hardnesses, in accordance with the real body parts that they represent.

For an added challenge, artificial blood can be pumped into the model to simulate real-time blood loss, giving doctors a feel of how quickly they need to act in order to keep a patient alive. Air can also be pumped into the lungs, making the model inflate and deflate as though it is a real, breathing patient. Even the stubbled face of the model is incredibly realistic, having been modeled on a real person.

“The aim is to allow trainee surgeons the psychological space to prepare for real life surgery using immersive environments and realistic representations of human anatomy,” Arm said. “Surgeons can be better prepared for live surgery by improving their surgical skills and enhancing post-operative outcomes for patients.”

The 3D printed human body can be “operated on” over and over again, as its skin is made from resealable silicone that can be cut with a scalpel then seamlessly resealed. This skin was created by causality simulation firm Trauma FX, a British company which provides casualty simulation make-up effects for medical and military training as well as film and TV productions.

The 3D printed body was created by Nottingham Trent University's school of art and design, the Ministry of Defence's Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, and the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. It will now undergo testing to see if it can be further improved, while the team is also planning to create further 3D printed organs, such as a brain, eyes, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and the vascular system for a person’s legs.

According to Colonel Peter Mahoney, emeritus professor of anesthesia, at the MoD's Defence Medical Services, 3D printed models like these could dramatically improve training for military surgeons who need to deal with battlefield traumas. “The ability to place clinically realistic surgical and anesthetic training models into simulations of austere military environments is of great value to military medicine,” Mahoney said. “As well as providing a training platform for our surgical teams, the thoracic trauma trainer will be of benefit to our prehospital Medical Emergency Response Teams.”

The British Ministry of Defence will order two of the 3D printed patients in 2017 for its surgeons to practice on.

All images: Nottingham Trent University



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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cherlynn wrote at 11/7/2016 11:04:44 AM:

i would like to make one Pls contact me

Luis Ivan jara castellanos wrote at 10/8/2016 12:19:05 AM:

I have some projects app ideas with your prototype, How can I contact to you . Spain.

Nynne Spuur (Denmark) wrote at 9/29/2016 9:41:50 AM:

Hi This is very interesting work. Is there anywhere I can find more information on the projeckt? Best regards

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