Ricoh, Stratasys, & Axial3D Partner to Increase Access to 3D Printed Anatomic Medical Models


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Longtime partners Stratasys and Ricoh USA, Inc. have signed an agreement that will increase access for clinics and hospitals to on-demand 3D printed anatomic medical models. According to Grandview Research, the global healthcare additive manufacturing market size was valued at $1.6 billion in 2021, and that number is only going up, with expectations to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 22.6% from 2022 to 2030. This new service agreement builds on the existing relationship between the two companies, focused on expanding access to 3D printed medical models through Ricoh’s precision AM services, Axial3D‘s cloud-based Segmentation-as-a-Service solution, and Stratasys’ 3D printing technology—all of which make up Stratasys Patient-Specific 3D Solutions.

“With the advancement in imaging techniques and 3D-printing technology, we are seeing an increased demand for personalized solutions. We offer a simplified and scalable, comprehensive solution that increases access to patient-specific 3D-printed models in a fraction of time to help deliver highly personalized treatment and care,” said Ben Klein, general manager of Patient-Specific Solutions for Stratasys.

Anatomic 3D printed models offer a clear, realistic look at a specific patient’s anatomy, which not only enables physicians and surgeons to plan out, and practice, difficult surgeries ahead of time, but also gives them a way to improve communication with medical staff, as well as with the patient and their family. Being able to hold a tactile model, with multiple colors and materials, is a much more effective way of learning what’s going on inside your body than looking at a 2D image like an X-ray. Thanks to Digital Anatomy technology from Stratasys, which was released back in 2019, the models can even be 3D printed to be, as the company puts it, “biomechanically realistic,” with a responsiveness and feel similar to real tissue and bone.

With the new collaboration, customers can upload medical files to a secure cloud-based service where Axial3D’s AI powered software automatically converts medical scans into 3D printable files.

Unfortunately, while using these types of realistic 3D printed models for surgical planning applications does offer improved benefits to patients and care teams, major barriers include on-site 3D printing technical expertise and capital investments up front. This new on-demand service agreement will take down these barriers to adoption, and help physicians achieve better surgical outcomes, with expanded access to clinics and hospitals.

With Ricoh’s manufacturing and healthcare expertise and quality control processes, the partners have the necessary production capacity to scale access to models 3D printed with Stratasys solutions. The combined offering gives both healthcare providers and patients better access to these high quality, patient-specific 3D printed models, so they can more easily be used for applications like surgical education, pre-operative surgical planning, and diagnostic use. With the help of these models, treatment decisions can be more clearly demonstrated to surgical staff and patients, surgery outcomes can be improved, and because of increased productivity, major cost savings can also be achieved.

Gary Turner, Managing Director of Additive Manufacturing, Ricoh USA, stated, “We are providing an opportunity for healthcare providers to access to state-of-the-art, precision additive manufacturing without absorbing the overhead costs. Offering this solution means democratized, wider access to patient-specific 3D-printed models that can improve outcomes and the patient experience, while also enhancing physician education and training.”

Anatomic 3D printed models are realistic, specific visualizations of a patient’s anatomy, allowing practitioners to plan and practice complex surgeries.

Thanks to this new collaboration, customers will be able to upload patients’ medical files to a secure, cloud-based service. Here, Axial3D‘s AI-powered software will automatically convert the scans into 3D printable files, which are 3D printed on Stratasys equipment at Ricoh’s ISO 13485 certified facility. The anatomic models are then shipped directly to the originating care facility. By combining solutions and technology from Axial3D, Ricoh, and Stratasys, a process that would normally take multiple weeks will now take only days, and won’t require that the customer has technical knowledge of AM or onsite 3D printers.

The new service from the three companies is now available. To learn more about their shared goals of increasing access to patient-specific 3D printed medical models, visit Stratasys and Axial3D (Booth 2859) and Ricoh (Booth 2659) at this week’s American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting and tradeshow in Las Vegas.

Images courtesy of Stratasys.

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