3D Life is certainly aptly named. This Greek startup isn’t promoting a fun new lifestyle or arts and crafts in the 3D printing industry—they are involved in the serious business of helping to save lives. Recognizing the value that 3D printing has in the medical arena, the team at 3D Life is committed to making 3D printed models for medical professionals to use, with numerous benefits for all involved.
Currently, the Athens-headquartered company makes high-quality, detailed models of the anatomy like teeth, hands, and bones, as well as organs like the heart, liver, brain, and more.
“In our office, we have a dedicated team, working to provide these high quality models with the newest 3D printing technology available, that is best used in the production of these models,” Leonardo Bilalis, Senior Applications Engineer at 3D Life, told 3DPrint.com. “We always strive to satisfy the needs of the customer and for this reason we are participating in the American Medical Association Healthier Nation Challenge which will help us to promote our products and make people understand how the 3D printed medical models can be used.”
With that in mind, 3D Life is encouraging the more comprehensive study of anatomy, mainly in terms of organs. They believe that even better knowledge of organs allows for better preparation for surgeries that are often solving complex physical issues—and the team uses congenital heart disease as a perfect example.
“As a result, the doctors can better plan reparative operations based on conventional medical imaging which is suboptimal,” Bilalis told 3DPrint.com. “The human mind can only partially understand trying to create mental images of three dimensional structures so we believe that having this ability will make operations shorter and more efficient, and provide better results.”
At 3D Life they believe, and undoubtedly are correct, that the exercise of holding and manipulating a 3D model leads to a better understanding of the client’s condition, as well as allowing for practicing for surgeries that are intricate and may not even have been performed before. This leads to numerous positives, from safety to better client outcomes, along with providing training for students.
While there may be other companies around the world making 3D models, 3D Life is unique as the first company to endeavor in such a field in Greece. Offering advanced 3D printing, they are able to make models in a variety of materials and, even better, multiple colors. They are able to offer excellent services to all the professionals who come to them.
3D Life uses Materialise Mimics software, made specifically for medical image processions. This enables the conversion of MRIs or CTs into 3D models, which can then be used in numerous ways.
Their 3D printer is a Stratasys Objet 260 Connex 3, which allows the team to make use of:
- Flexible color, from deep dark to fluorescent, and even semi-translucent
- Digital ABS, for making standard Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastics by combining high-temperature resistance with toughness
- Simulated Polypropylene, tough single-material options able to withstand great stress
- High Temperature, which is ideal for thermal testing of static parts
- Bio-compatibility, as medical rapid prototyping materials offer detail, precision, and strength for items such as dental delivery trays, surgical orthopedic guides and hearing aids
- Rubber, an adaptable material ideal for the modeling of many different 3D printed items
“Our technology and know-how enables the physician, the designer, or the engineer to create a prototype or even an end- product with quality and speed unsurpassed in the market,” says the team on their website. “Working closely with our customers, we review the concept quickly, and build accurately. Thus, design problems can be identified immediately and changes can be applied as needed.”
With such devices available, medical professionals and surgeons will find themselves with a much better way to educate patients and their families about medical conditions, handle diagnoses and treatments, and explain procedures. Surgeons can then spend a lot of time themselves with those medical models, considering and practicing for upcoming operations—as well as using the models in the operating room to navigate through surgeries, saving time and allowing for better outcomes with less surprises. In some cases around the world, 3D libraries are being made as these models begin to pile up, and can be of use to other medical personnel.
The 3D Life team’s talents do also extend beyond medical applications, as their 3D printers are also capable of producing high quality prototypes and architectural models too. Discuss further in the 3D Life’s 3D Models forum over in the 3DPB.com.