3D printing is quickly becoming an irreplaceable part of the medical workflow in many hospitals and surgical centers. The rapidly dropping price of 3D printers and 3D printing materials are allowing hospitals, even those often on tight budgets, the ability to bring in the technology and apply it to a number of patient care and time saving applications. 3D printing for surgical pre-planning can reduce the time required to perform the surgery by more than 50%. Not only is that less stressful for the doctor, which will lead to fewer errors, but it is less stressful on the patient. Additionally, the less time spent in the operating room means that a hospital can perform more surgeries and save themselves and their patients some money.
Surgeons have been using 3D printing to help with surgical pre-planning on complex or delicate procedures for a while now. But recently 3D printing has been seeing use within a far greater range of applications than just surgical pre-planning. Not only do 3D printed models of the patient’s internal anatomy help the doctors explain the procedures to the patient clearly, allowing them to make better more informed choices, but it allows the doctors themselves a greater understanding of what they can find once they start operating. Seeing medical scans in three dimensions can also offer doctors a better idea of exactly how serious the issue is, and if surgery is even required. But it isn’t enough to just have 3D printers; hospitals need software solutions that are robust and versatile enough to be used regularly within a wide variety cases.
Belgian 3D printing and software developer Materialise has been one of the leading companies to develop software specifically for medical applications, and their products are starting to find themselves used all over the world. This week they just announced a new deal with Japanese medical equipment company Canon Lifecare Solutions to distribute Materialise’s Mimics Innovation and Care software suites throughout Japan. Now hospital staff using workstations and 3D printers supplied by Canon Lifecare Solutions will have access to Materialise’s open and flexible software platforms.
“At Materialise, we have devoted more than 25 years to identifying meaningful applications of 3D printing and developing the backbone of software and solutions needed to successfully bring them to market. We see incredible potential for 3D printing in medicine, a vision which we share with Canon Lifecare Solutions. By distributing our software solutions, Canon Lifecare Solutions will help accelerate our aim of helping the medical community better integrate 3D printing into their workflow and begin unleashing the benefits it offers, which include potential cost savings and patient care improvement,” said Materialise Executive Vice President, Hilde Ingelaere of the deal.
In addition to the entire selection Materialise Mimics software platforms, Canon Lifecare Solutions will begin offering newly released Materialise Mimics inPrint. The cutting edge software was designed to fully integrate with all modern imaging systems so users can quickly and easily locate patient images on the hospital PACS. This data can be directly imported into Materialise Mimics inPrint, converted into medically accurate 3D models and then sent directly to the hospital’s 3D printers or a local 3D printing service provider. inPrint makes 3D printing medical models and surgical guides as easy as sending a document to the office 2D printer.
“We at Canon Lifecare Solutions believe in working as closely as possible and as flexibly as possible with local partners in various markets in order to serve our customers. We are proud to now count Materialise as one of these partners, and are honored to be offering software solutions from the Materialise Mimics platform to our customers to empower meaningful applications of medical 3D printing,” said Canon Lifecare Solutions President, Mr. Koji Ishiwata.
Here is some video about the software solutions that Materialise is developing for hospitals:
The inPrint software is DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) compliant, which is the international standard for viewing and processing medical images and related information. The software suite is allowing hospitals to directly connect to a rapidly growing range of 3D printers from dozens of manufacturers. Discuss in the Materialise Mimics & Hospital 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.