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Medicine Printer United Kingdom

3D Printed Bone Models Cut Cost of Surgery Operations 88

Tasha26 writes "A trainee surgeon, Mark Frame, has figured out how to save U.K.'s NHS thousands of pounds by taking advantage of 3D-printer technology. Success in orthopedic operations relies on surgeons having an accurate 3D model of the area where the operation will take place. Such models take time to produce and cost up to £1200 ($1915). Mark, a self-confessed 'technology geek,' used open source OsiriX software to convert CT scans into files which are readable by the 3D printers at Shapeways, a company in the Netherlands. Within a week they produced and delivered the first plastic 3D model of a child's forearm at a cost of £77 ($123). Mark has written a free guide so that other surgeons can make their own bones, which is being considered for publication by the World Journal of Science and Technology."
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3D Printed Bone Models Cut Cost of Surgery Operations

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  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @11:41AM (#37935548)

    This just demonstrates the one niche that 3D printing is good at. We have been using 3D printing for prototyping for years, and they work great for that. You get an object that is good enough for a one-off prototype without the expense of casting or milling. But they are worthless for producing anything that needs to last, or have any sort of structural strength.

    "Haters" don't hate 3D printing for what it is good for, they hate the hype surrounding it saying it will revolutionize manufacturing and will quickly improve to the point where home users can make things as good as professional manufacturing can. That's just not going to happen.

  • Re:FDA approval (Score:4, Informative)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @12:36PM (#37936414)
    I doubt you need FDA approval for something which just prints out a model of a scan. The patient isn't going to have the part shoved back in them, it's a surgeons tool. Though I can see that if it were used as the basis of producing parts that went back into a patient, e.g. a plate, band or whatever that it might become expensive. More likely they just want something they can hold, turn around, poke, practice with etc.
  • by adamgundy ( 836997 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @12:39PM (#37936442)

    I have a counterpoint: []

    this is a duct for the J2-X rocket engine, produced using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (3D printed metal, in other words). it has to operate at insane temperatures and pressures... and it does, perfectly.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"