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Veterans Affairs and 3D Printing

Military.com reports on Veterans Affairs, the governmental agency tasked with aiding veterans.  Apparently the VA wishes to expand its presence in the 3D printing arena.

As Dr. Beth Ripley, a radiologist at VA Medical Center Puget Sound and Chair of the Veterans Health Administration’s 3D Printing Advisory Committee explains: “3D printing is a total game changer.  Often technology pushes us further away from our patients…this technology is allowing our VA staff to really come close to the patient.”

Indeed, the VA “has launched an aggressive campaign to put 3D printers in many of its medical centers.  The initiative aims to improve patient care by aiding surgical planning, crafting assistive medical devices and prosthetic limbs, and eventually creating bones and organs for transplant.”

“The department has more than 100 printers at 23 medical centers, up from just three in 2017.”  It has plans for even more. “VA Ann Arbor Healthcare Systems in Michigan currently is working on creating an artificial lung, which could be utilized while a patient waits for a lung transplant or needs help breathing during recovery from a respiratory illness.  The 3D artificial lungs would replicate the structure and size of the blood vessels and would be constructed of substances that would be more compatible with the human body, reducing immune response.”

“The VA’s 3D Printing Center of Excellence falls under what VA calls its VHA Innovation Ecosystem, which encompasses programs aiming to identify best practices at VA medical centers and push them out across the VA’s health system.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Military.com

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