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Man Saves Wife’s Sight by 3D Printing Her Tumor

Man Saves Wife s Sight by 3D Printing Her Tumor MAKE


Balzer had unknowingly pioneered what researchers at the new Medical Innovation Lab in Austin, Texas, predict will soon be the standard of care. Using 3D printing to help plan procedures and to explain diagnoses to patients “is going to become the new normal,” says Dr. Michael Patton, CEO of the Lab, which launched in October 2014 with the goal of bringing new ideas for medical devices and technologies to market. Patton says its doors are open to creative thinkers like Balzer, and points out that 3D printing can accelerate the process of product, tool, and device development in medicine. “What you can now do through 3D printing is like what you’re able to do in the software world: Rapid iteration, fail fast, get something to market quickly,” Patton says. “You can print the prototypes, and then you can print out model organs on which to test the products. You can potentially obviate the need for some animal studies, and you can do this proof of concept before extensive patient trials are conducted.”

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This is freaking amazing:

At this point, Balzer requested Scott’s DICOM files (the standard digital format for medical imaging data) so he could work with them at home. It was a crucial step. A few months later, Scott had another MRI, and the radiologist came back with a horrifying report: The tumor had grown substantially, which indicated a far more grave condition than was initially diagnosed. But back at home, Balzer used Photoshop to layer the new DICOM files on top of the old images, and realized that the tumor hadn’t grown at all — the radiologist had just measured from a different point on the image. Once his relief subsided, Balzer was furious and more determined than ever to stay in control of Scott’s treatment. “I thought, ‘why don’t we take it to the next level?’” Balzer says. “Let’s see what kind of tools are available so that I can take the DICOMs, which are 2D slices, and convert them into a 3D model.” That decision changed everything.

so awesome!!!  and you know what else is cool?  that woman looks like her skull!  we don't usually get to see a living person holding her own skull...

Soon thanks to 3-d printers anyone will be able to print her or his own skull.

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