Japanese Researchers Create 3D Printed Liver Models Which are One-Third The Price

Share this Article

j2What amazes me the most about 3D printing is just how rapidly the technology is being adopted and how advanced the printing process has become over the last two to three years. There are few industries, if any, which have realized the benefit of 3D printing as much as the medical industry. Every week we stumble upon new, innovative ways in which 3D printing can be used to either help save the life of an individual, or at least make it more fulfilling.

One application which has seen exponential adoption within hospitals and surgical centers around the world, is that of 3D printed medical models. By using CT scan and MRI data researchers and doctors are able to fabricate near-replicas of a patient’s internal organ structure, allowing them to practice complicated procedures on a ‘dummy’ organ prior to moving on to the actual surgery. Additionally, these models allow surgeons to better understand just what a particular surgery will require from them, much better than a 3D image on a computer monitor can.

j1

Recently, researchers at the University of Tsukuba, one of Japan’s oldest national universities, located in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Dai Nippon Printing Company have developed a method of printing patient specific 3D models of the human liver. As we’ve mentioned above, we’ve all seen 3D printed medical models of organs before, but these models are much more than just that. Using multiple materials within the printing process, including a clear polymer to mimic the main organ’s tissue, and red and blue polymer to represent the arteries and the veins within the organ, researchers have been able to produce an incredibly accurate model.j3

Price is certainly an aspect of these models researchers are looking to reduce, so they’ve recently turned to exploring ways in which they can cut the production costs of such models significantly. To do this, they’ve cut back on the total amount of polymer required and created an open-air 3D print of the same liver. As you can see in the image above, the new liver model uses only one type of resin, but is able to convey the same information as the more complicated multi-resin liver. They have thus been able to reduce the total cost of creating such models by 66% to approximately 300,000 to 400,000 yen ($2500 – $3300).

“We have tested these products with patients and the results are incredible,” explained a University of Tsukuba researcher. “Its easy to understand I think why this technology is such an attractive medical service, but also beneficial to the training of young doctors.”

While they have not used these new models for any specific surgery quite yet, they have used them extensively while training soon-to-be doctors. The university looks to bring the new liver models into the surgical arena sometime next year and is already working on other organs such as the pancreas.

Certainly these models could significantly reduce the overhead that any hospital or surgical center has to deal with. A reduction in price from around $10,000 to under $3300 would ultimately be passed on to the patient, which none can argue is a bad thing.

Let us know your thoughts on these affordable medical models coming out of Japan. Discuss in the 3D Printed Medical Model forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Share this Article


Recent News

The Real Cost of 3D Printing

Wichita State University & Army 3D Print Parts for Aging Black Hawk Helicopters



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory: 3D Printing Customized Ear Plugs for Soldiers

Researchers JR Stefanson and William Ahroon recently completed a study for the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, releasing their findings in ‘Evaluation of Custom Hearing Protection Fabricated from Digital Ear...

On-Demand Surgical Retractor 3D Printed by the U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Department of Defense is using even more of its mind-boggling budget on additive manufacturing (AM) for virtual inventory and on-demand spare parts. This time, the world’s most dangerous...

West Point: Bioprinting for Soldiers in the Battlefield

Last summer, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jason Barnhill traveled to an undisclosed desert location in Africa with a ruggedized 3D printer and other basic supplies that could be used to...

Australian Army Enters 3D Printing Pilot Program, Partnering with SPEE3D & CDU

3D printing will soon be assisting members of the military in Australia, as a 12-month pilot training program has begun in a $1.5 million partnership with SPEE3D and Charles Darwin...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!