Happy November! Fall is finally here, and with the cascading leaves also descends a plethora of exciting developments emanating from the world of Medical Devices and 3D Printing!
Get inspired with our articles that inspired, equipped, and guided us through October 2015:
Since summer, one of the most intriguing stories in 3D printing surrounds Harvard-educated physician Dr. Julienne Wong and her work in studying the feasibility of 3D printing surgical instruments. The idea sprung out of the desire to make it possible for instruments to be printed on an as-needed basis, thereby reducing the amount of supplies needed to take to remote areas, on space missions, for instance.
In the interest of creating the latest in lifesaving technology in even the most remote regions of the earth, and above, Dr. Wong and her company 3D4MD designed a solar powered 3D printer that is small enough to transport almost anywhere. Injuries such as a common hand injury called “mallet finger”, or a jammed, “baseball finger”, can be treated in remote areas or in space by 3D printed custom splints, which Dr. Wong has already fashioned. This is just the beginning!
Within the neonatal care space, each baby is a different size, and may have a different set of medical challenges. For a baby who is small and premature, and needs a very tiny connector, or an infant that needs a customized brace, 3D printing can provide viable solutions. Researchers at Northwestern University have begun creating custom ceramic and plastic implants and devices to attend to this great need in pediatrics.
Their system uses both plastic and ceramic fibers to create highly exact, rigid objects. Stereolithography and magnetics control the position of the ceramic fiber and places it exactly where it needs to flow. The system is still in testing, but expect the findings to help babies sooner rather than later!
Dr. Mohd Nazimi Abd Jabr of UKM Medical Center in Malaysia, is the first surgeon in his nation to perform a facial implant using 3D printing. His patient, Sharifah, had been in a bad accident, breaking bones in several areas of her body and damaging her face and skull. As a result, Sharifah lost vision in her left eye, and her frontal bone and upper part of her left orbital rim had significant deformity, causing debilitating headaches.
Turning to modern surgical technology is uncommon in Malaysia at present, but with the help of Materialise OBL, Dr. Nazimi is a pioneer in his country.
Researchers at UK’s Nottingham University have developed wearable technology to enhance safety during spine surgery for children with cerebral palsy, a story that broke last month. The team designed an optical head-mounted display that shows information in the surgeon’s line of sight during spine surgery. This is an upgrade, researchers say, from the current scenario, in which surgeons receive guidance from someone outside the operating room.
With this head mounted display, transmitted information reveals the responsiveness of nerves, and surgeons can view this in real-time as they are working. The technology is designed to improve both efficiency and safety. A camera fastens on to the headpiece, which records the surgery for later use.
Researchers from Leiden University and Erasmus Medical Centers in the Netherlands have received a prestigious grant to continue developing early term surgical procedures to prevent spina bifida.
Medical professionals from these entities have developed a unique surgical solution that will correct gaps on the backs of developing fetuses. The minimally invasive procedure is designed to be performed in early pregnancy and uses a revolutionary, in utero 3D printing technique to prevent the fetus’ spine and nerves from being damaged by its mother’s amniotic fluid.