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3D printing is merging with such a variety of applications these days it’s dizzying. Recently, 3D Systems announced it is partnering with a New York-based start-up, led by Dr. Carrie Stern, called MirrorMe3D. The purpose is to “augment” the cosmetic surgery client’s experience (and the surgeon’s performance). If you are like me and are fascinated by the cosmetic surgery culture and its quest for human perfection, then it makes sense that entrepreneurs would tap into 3D printing to show a close to “real life” version of what a new face will actually look like.

Worried about that nose job you’ve been saving up for? Not sure how it will actually look? (You’ve heard horror stories, right?) Well, never fear: MirrorMe3D, in partnership with 3D Systems, is here to assuage any fear and reveal the new you before you look in the  mirror once the bandages come off!

mirr4MirrorMe3D will use 3D printed ‘before’ and ‘after’ colored models that are patient-specific. Obviously, it would be a big comfort to actually see a replica of the cosmetic alteration before it occurs, and it may likely even convince some people who are sitting on the fence to go ahead and get that surgery while they can still enjoy themselves. And if you think about it, in the same way that we laud the medical use of 3D printed models to prepare surgeons before their patients go under the knife, there is also the obvious factor of the models having a larger medical benefit — just like any other surgery.

This unique approach to cosmetic surgery is called a “game changer” and  a “paradigm shift” by physicians familiar with usual cosmetic surgery routines.  Dr. Glenn Jelks, NYU Medical Center Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery and Opthamology, has this to say about the merging of 3D printing and cosmetic surgery procedures:

“I call this a paradigm shift. You actually have a printed score card telling you the volume of tissue, whether it be bone, soft tissue, or fat injection, that’s required for the reconstruction.”

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So, with cosmetic surgery and 3D printing described as a paradigm shift, it appears that 3D Systems technology is the best company to usher in this new paradigm shift. 3D Systems is working closely with biomedical engineers at its Golden, Colorado healthcare facility, who are utilizing the latest Geomagic Studio and Geomagic FreeForm software to help prepare models for printing. Using 3D Systems’ ProJet 660 full-color printer, the models are printed, post-processed and shipped. Before you know it, you could bemirr5 staring at and holding the “new you.”

“MirrorMe3D is a perfect example of how medical professionals today are combining 3D software tools and 3D printing in order to enhance their services and provide more personalized care,” said Kevin McAlea, Chief Operating Officer, Healthcare, 3DS. “From virtual surgical planning and simulation to 3D printed models, instruments and implants, our digital thread is powering the future of patient-specific healthcare.”

As an aside: I am a huge fan of the film The Stepford Wives (the first one, not the remake), and I can’t help but think of one of the film’s final scenes when the main character, disheveled and looking for her disappeared children in the local Men’s Association building, encounters what will be her future self. This robot-woman sits before a mirror brushing her hair and staring vacantly into the mirror. Our heroine is confronting her new and improved future self, and in this case, it is truly horrifying. (I won’t give away the ending!)

I guess so long as these cosmetic surgical prints don’t robotically move on their own, everything will be all right!  Discuss this story in the 3D Printing & Cosmetic Surgery Forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

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