Two-dimensional CT scans are so outdated, aren’t they? Sure, they’re great for revealing injuries, tumors or other abnormalities inside the human body, but compared to the 3D printed models that can now be made from the scans, the original images seem pretty primitive. We frequently report on the lives saved by medical teams who have printed 3D models of patients’ organs from their CT scans. The models allow doctors and surgeons to map out complicated surgeries before opening up the patient, and sometimes they reveal abnormalities that weren’t readily apparent from the 2D image.
If you’ve read about any of these procedures, you may be astonished at how easy it all sounds. Take a CT scan, convert it to a 3D model, print it out, study it for a while, then boom – a complex surgery is now a piece of cake. Well, it’s not quite as easy as all that. Converting a raw CT scan to a 3D model isn’t a simple process, and if you’re not already familiar with 3D technology, you can get really stuck before you ever get to the printer.
Doctors, nurses and surgeons are some of the busiest people you’ll ever meet, so while they, and their patients, can potentially benefit most from 3D printing CT scans, they’re also the least likely to have the time to learn about the technology. If only there were someone to do the data conversion for them, 3D printed surgical models would be a lot more accessible, or so says technology company Changing Technologies. And they want to handle that data conversion for medical professionals, educators and others who have need for 3D printed CT scans.
“There is a definite, growing demand for this service,” said Changing Technologies’ CEO, Marco Valenzuela. “Companies and people are finding that getting their CT data converted into a file their 3D printer can process is a challenge. You can’t just go from a scan to print. The file needs to be converted. We aim to fill that void. CHGT now offers CT scan processing services where we can take a customer’s scan file and turn it to a 3D printable model that we can print for them, they can print it themselves or find a printer using our portal. We believe this niche market can turn into a solid, revenue-producing business for us.”
Changing Technologies and their recently created subsidiary, 6th Dimension Technologies, are geared towards innovative uses of 3D printing technology to meet the needs of clients. They’re behind the intriguing “print-a-bit” idea that allows customers to 3D print their own items on demand at kiosks inside retail locations, and they’ve made a point of being the first to come up with solutions to issues that arise along with the introduction of new things (child-proof medical marijuana packaging, anyone?). While many industries are investing in 3D printing training for their employees, it’s nice to know that there’s a company out there who will handle 3D printing-related issues for hospitals and other institutions when the need arises.
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