Jul.4, 2013

When it comes to performing surgery on a child's heart, planning the steps ahead is critical. The ideal tools for surgeons are 3D models of specific patients' hearts that doctors can observe from all sides. So when University of Iowa surgeon Joseph Turek had a young patient with a hole in the heart, he came to Mark Ginsberg.

Mark Ginsberg, the owner of a high-end jewelry retail store, has a manufacturing facility above his store, with two 3-D printers, two CNC mills and machines that cast, weld and apply finishes.

Ginsberg has partnered with physicians in a variety of industries to create 3D models they need. One of his recent creation was a tiny, photopolymer heart for surgeon Turek.

A 3D printed photopolymer replica of a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics patient's heart | Credit: press-citizen

"This way, they can hold the actual heart in their hand, the physiology of that heart, the rendering of that heart, and pregame the direction of the tools, the angle of the tools and how they're going to attack different vessels," Ginsberg told the press-citizen.

Having a 3D model of organ before the surgery could help keeping the body open for less time, and lead to potentially better prognosis, said Ginsberg. "Probably most importantly to an insurance company is a reduction in a potential liability: things going wrong that you hadn't anticipated because you hadn't seen the actual organ, or the actual part that you were going to operate on," Ginsberg explained.

Turek provided a CT scan of the patient's heart, and Ginsberg and his staff processed the model in the computer and then sent the file to a 3D printer. Ginsberg said he would charge between $900 and $1,500 for such a rendering but has been making them for UI physicians free of charge to prove they can be used in medicine.

The doctors could order it from other companies in the country, but they have to wait longer, Turek said. They also wouldn't be able to get the images back and forth quickly, or solve other issues that might arise, he said.

Watch the video below:


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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