Jun 28, 2015 | By Simon

Among other applications for 3D printing that have seen a surge of use over the past year, creating accurate replicas that can be used as models to aid a surgical process have been among the most widely-used.

While the 3D printed models are traditionally created using CT scan data, there are other types of scanning procedures that also reveal valuable information - however, up until now the process of feasibly converting that data into usable 3D printing data hasn’t existed.   

Now, a team of heart specialists from Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan have announced that they have successfully 3D printing the first model of a heart that utilizes multiple imaging techniques in a single, detailed print.  

While 3D printing anatomically-correct hearts based off of existing 3D medical scans isn’t necessarily a new process, the use of combining both CT scans and 3D echocardiography data into a hybrid model, is.    

In addition to further developing their new 3D modeling and printing technique, the team is also looking at ways that they can apply the same approach towards using MRI data for hybrid 3D printing, too.  

"Hybrid 3D printing integrates the best aspects of two or more imaging modalities, which can potentially enhance diagnosis, as well as interventional and surgical planning," said Jordan Gosnell, lead author of the proof-of-concept study and . "Previous methods of 3D printing utilize only one imaging modality, which may not be as accurate as merging two or more datasets."

In order to create the model, the team used specialized software that was created with help from Materialise to seamlessly blend the two scans into a singular hybrid model.  The resulting models are capable of communicating more about a patient’s heart condition than what was previously available.  

According to the researchers, each of the imaging tools has different strengths that, while highly-communicative on their own, offer a very accurate look at the condition of a patient’s heart when combined into a hybrid model.  While the CT scan enhances the visualization of the outside anatomy of the heart, the MRI is superior in measuring the interior of a heart and the 3D echocardiography data can accurately visualize the heart valve anatomy.  

"This is a huge leap for individualized medicine in cardiology and congenital heart disease," said Joseph Vettukattil, M.D., a senior author of the study and co-director of the hospital’s Heart Center.  

"The technology could be beneficial to cardiologists and surgeons. The model will promote better diagnostic capability and improved interventional and surgical planning, which will help determine whether a condition can be treated via transcatheter route or if it requires surgery."

Vettukattil has been presenting the findings of the proof-of-concept study this week at the Catheter Interventions in Congenital, Structural and Valvular Heart Diseases Congress (CSI 2015) in Frankfurt, Germany to further demonstrate the feasibility of the process for international use in the near-future.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Tim wrote at 7/1/2015 2:25:37 PM:

If you cannot spell Bologna, you should not be teaching.

D. C. Neckers wrote at 6/29/2015 9:10:52 PM:

This story is so much balony. My students and I printed a heart from scan data provided of a living patient by cardiologists at the Medical College of Ohio using a self-constructed stereolithography apparatus in 1988 in my research labs at the Center for Photochemical Sciences, Bowling Green State University. The students did the work in collaboration with the image analysis labs from the medical college. The model, now on display at Spectra Group Ltd. Medical in Millbury, Ohio (www.sglinc.com) was the first of many printed by the Company in the early 90's using a 3D Systems SLA 250. Details of the effort are available upon request; the Company prints models at reasonable prices, from both CT and MRI data on request. Please contact james@sglinc.com; or neckers@sglinc.com for additional information. D. C. Neckers, McMaster Distinguished Research Professor, BGSU (emeritus) Hope College, 1960; Distinguished alumnus, 2015.

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