Following a meeting with a consultant anaplastologist Fripp Design and Research were advised that they needed 3D printed models from CT data to enable clinical investigation and treatment planning for patients with head and neck trauma, those with tumours and others with head and neck birth defects. This requirement to build 3D visual models is exactly the same process that industrial designers go through, except industrial designers would call these prototypes.
Fripp Design and Research were provided with CT data for each patient. Using appropriate 3D software, Fripp Design and Research converted the files to 3D CAD data files (this involved repairing the CT Data to remove any scatter from metal objects such as gold/silver). The repaired files were 'meshed', 'closed' and prepared for printing on one of Fripp Design and Research's ZCorp 3D printers. The 3D models are produced in monochrome and finished using a strong infiltrant to enable the models to be repeatedly handled by surgeons and clinicians for investigations and treatment planning purposes.
From receipt of the CT data, models are produced within 48 hours and delivered back to the hospital. Each models is printed with the patients name and CT scan number attached.
Having a full size 3D model of a patients trauma area significantly improves the decision making process for all stakeholders involved in a patients treatment. It requires no knowledge in the manipulation of CT and/or 3D CAD data; you simply pick the model up in your hand and manipulate how you need. As with industrial prototyping, the creation of 3D physical models significantly reduces the time and assists clinician decision making for the best patient outcome.