Dec 14, 2016 | By Tess

A hospital in Spain has begun integrating specialized 3D printed instruments into certain extracorporeal surgical operations. Used by cardiovascular surgeons, the 3D printed medical tools have been used successfully for 30 separate procedures over the past year.

From 3D printed surgical guides, to 3D printed implants, additive manufacturing is undeniably making its mark within the medical field. And as more and more researchers and labs dedicate their time and resources to advancing existing medical 3D printing applications and developing entirely new ones, it seems that this mark will only continue to grow.

At the Hospital Regional Universitario de Málaga in Spain, 3D printing is being integrated into the everyday in a small but significant way, as cardiovascular surgeons have been using 3D printed instruments to help assist them in extracorporeal surgical interventions. Notably, since the tools are 3D printed, the doctors have been able to make them patient-specific, basing their dimensions on the patient’s echocardiographs and CT scans.

Cardiovascular surgeon Ignacio Díaz de Tuesta, a resident at La Paz Hospital in Madrid, was responsible for introducing the 3D printed instrument technology to the hospital in Málaga. The surgeon integrated the new method at the hospital during a period of rotation he served there.

So far, the 3D printed patient-specific tools have already proved to be useful in a number of different cardiovascular operations, including aortic valve replacement, changes of aorta segments, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, aortic dissections, and more. If you’re wondering what kind of tools have been 3D printed, the surgeons have used a 3D printed aortic valve protector to effectively protect the valve during the operation; a paravalvular probe, which is used to reduce the risks of valve perforation; an intraoperative diameter meter for the aorta, which helps accurately measure the diameter of the valve before inserting a graft; and a gauge to calibrate and determine the initial surgical incision.

The 3D printed tools being used by doctors at the Hospital Regional Universitario de Málaga have been additively manufactured using a plastic material that can be properly sterilized to qualify for use within a sterile surgical environment. Even though the 3D printed instruments are not being implanted into the body, sterilization, as one can imagine, is still of utmost importance. And while some of the 3D printed tools are customized to the patient, and are therefore only suitable for perhaps one use, some of them, such as the 3D printed surgical incision gauge, can be used for multiple patients.

As mentioned, the hospital has already successfully used the 3D printed medical instruments for roughly 30 surgical operations over the past year.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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