Medical 3D printing for the radiologist

From personalized replacement body parts to safer surgeries, 3D printing is revolutionizing medicine. Dr. Frank Rybicki, an American expert in the field, tells Andrew Duffy what the future holds — and why he’s set up shop in Ottawa.

Dr. Frank Rybicki with a 3D-printed model skull at the Ottawa Hospital. Darren Brown, Ottawa Citizen

While use of advanced visualization in radiology is instrumental in diagnosis and communication with referring clinicians, there is an unmet need to render Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) images as three-dimensional (3D) printed models capable of providing both tactile feedback and tangible depth information about anatomic and pathologic states.

Three-dimensional printed models, already entrenched in the non-medical sciences, are rapidly being embraced in medicine as well as in the lay community. Incorporating 3D printing from images generated and interpreted by radiologists presents particular challenges, including training, materials and equipment, and guidelines. The overall costs of a 3D printing laboratory must be balanced by the clinical benefits. It is expected that the number of 3D-printed models generated from DICOM images for planning interventions and fabricating implants will grow exponentially.

Radiologists should at a minimum be familiar with 3D printing as it relates to their field, including types of 3D printing technologies and materials used to create 3D-printed anatomic models, published applications of models to date, and clinical benefits in radiology.

Medical 3D Printing for the Radiologist, Dimitris Mitsouras PhD, Peter Liacouras PhD  Amir Imanzadeh MD , Adreas A. Giannopoulos MD, Tianrun Cai MD, Kanako K. Kumamaru MD PhD, Elizabeth George MD, Nicole Wake MS , Edward J. Caterson MD PhD, Bohdan Pomahac MD, Vincent B. Ho MD, Gerald T. Grant DMD MS, Frank J. Rybicki MD PhD. RadioGraphics 2015; 35:1965–1988 ISSN 0271-5333; eISSN 1527-1323. DOI 10.1148/rg.2015140320.

Address email to F.J.R., Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Department of Radiology, University of Ottawa, 725 Parkdale Ave, Ottawa ON, Canada K1Y 4E9

3D Printing (Hands-on) Training Guide, RSNA 2014, Tianrun Cai, Andreas Giannopoulos Gerald Grant, Amir Imanzadeh, Tatiana Kelil, Hansol Kim, Peter C. Liacouras, Dimitrios Mitsouras, Tim Mueller, Catherine H. Phillips, Beth A. Ripley, Asha Sarma, Nicole Wake. Applied Imaging Science Lab.

Dr. Frank J. Rybicki, the director of Applied Imaging Science Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, discusses the impact of Stratasys 3D printing for a full-face transplant patient. Published on YouTube Dec 7, 2014

Also see
Superstar doctor brings medicine’s new dimension to Ottawa in The Ottawa Citizen
Collaborative 3D Printing in Medical Practice in Mayo School of Continuous Professional Development

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