3D Printing in Medicine

Author(s): Leonardo Bilalis

Introduction: The practice of modern medicine in many medical subspecialties relies on advanced imaging. Computerized Tomog-
raphy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging can produce 3D images aiming to provide physicians with improved appreciation of the anatomy. Three dimensional printing technology called “3D print-ing”, VR technology (virtual Reality) of cardiovascular structures is an emerging new tool poised to enhance appreciation of complex cardiac anatomic features and their interrelationships with surrounding tissues, and also to play an important role in preoperative planning and surgical simulation.

Objectives: We seek to explore the utility of creating anatomically accurate 3D printing models for patients with complex or unusual congenital heart defects in facilitating diagnostic understanding, family counseling, interventional or surgical planning, as well as
team teaching and simulation.
Methods: Based on contrast–enhanced computer tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MRI) images, after appropriate seg-
mentation and processing, accurate 3D printed models of the relevant cardiac anatomy (including appropriately planned sections based on individualized case assessment) are created. These are then utilized for the entire cardiology - surgical team to appreciatethe anatomy, for patient family education, and for optimizing surgical planning, including surgical or interventional teaching and simulation.