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Stratasys Launches 3D Printed Synthetic Organs

TechRepublic reports on a recent announcement by Stratasys. Stratasys has announced a new 3D printer, “along with three new materials and new software to power the whole platform.”

This new J750 Digital Anatomy 3D Printer is about to print out synthetic organs, which in the future could be used to replace cadavers as training tools for medical students. As Stratasys Medical Segment Leader Scott Drikakis explains: “the GrabCad Print Digital Anatomy software powers everything.”

“If there is a defect in the heart, a structural abnormality, with this solution, we can 3D print a synthetic digital twin of that patient. A surgeon can also replicate the physical characteristics of a patient’s illness, such as calcifications in veins and arteries.”

Along with the printer, Stratasys also released three new materials. While TissueMatrix is “the softest material available in 3D printing,” Drikakis explains “GelMatrix and BoneMatrix involve an advance in material science for Stratasys. These materials are softer and therefore more flexible, which gives more control to blend them based on the desired outcome. Now Stratasys is making functional models with the same biomechanical properties as a human heart.”

Drikakis elaborates on the development process. Apparently, “Stratasys developed the new printing system based on customer requests for more realistic organs. During the four-year development process, the company’s top priority was to make the software as user friendly as possible.”

This process involves a surgeon starting “with a CT scan or an MRI and segments the image. This process marks the sections of the image that contain the organ to be replicated by the 3D printer. Sections of the scan showing surrounding tissue or bone are discarded. This segmentation is loaded into the software and printing begins. Printing a standard heart model takes between six and eight hours. Printing a thigh bone can take up to 16 hours.”

The goal is to replace cadavers in medical training eventually. (Today a cadaver can cost anywhere from $1,300 to $5,000 – not even counting the human life involved!)

Already, “more than 100 hospitals in America and 85 of the top 100 global medical device companies are using this new printer.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Stratasys and TechRepublic

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