When it comes to 3D printing organs for practicing difficult surgeries, texture can be as important as structure.
Researchers across the globe have been using 3D printers to make custom models of brains, spines and hearts to practice difficult surgeries. But some have taken that research to the next level by designing printed organs that feel, move and bleed like the real thing.
The slimy, squishy materials not only help doctors get a more realistic understanding of complex cases, they can help medical students develop muscle memory faster.
The University of Rochester’s Simulated Inanimate Model for a Physical Learning Experience (SIMPLE) project uses hydrogel to create 3D-printed organs that bleed when cut.
“Very few surgical simulations are successful at recreating the live event from the beginning to the end,” said Dr. Ahmed Ghazi, an assistant professor in the Department of Urology, in a statement. “What we have created is a model that looks, feels, and reacts like a live organ and allows trainees and surgeons to replicate the same experience they would face in the operating room with a real patient.”