Doctors turn to 3D printing to source medical supplies in earthquake-recovering Nepal

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8317820-3x2-700x467Until recently, staff at the health clinic in Bhotechaur village, in Nepal’s Sindhupalchowk region, had no way to examine their patients’ ears for signs of infection.

While otoscopes might be a common medical item in the West, for remote mountain hospitals in Nepal, sourcing such equipment can be next to impossible.

But when Nepalese engineer Ram Chandra Thapa heard about the problems facing the Bhotechaur clinic, he realised he could offer a simple solution.

He specialises in 3D printing, so he designed and printed a plastic otoscope.

“All the doctors and medical practitioners … they are happy with our [3D-printed] equipment,” Mr Thapa said.

“The items that we develop using 3D printers are cheaper, and they can be made in the field.”

Mr Thapa works for Field Ready, a US-based non-profit organisation that specialises in 3D printing plastic equipment for humanitarian and emergency situations.

By Nick Parkin | ABC (AU)

Image Credit: Nick Parkin


Surgeon Calls On Materialise Mimics Software to Create 3D Printed Patient-Specific Surgical Guides for a Complex Wrist Osteotomy

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distal-radius-wrist-fracture-xraysAny type of surgery, from the simplest to the more complex, brings potential risks with it; any number of things can go wrong. That’s why Alistair Phillips, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specializing in the hand, wrist, and elbow who works at Spire Southampton Hospital and the Hampshire Hand Surgery Clinic, has a personal philosophy to treat his patients without surgery if at all possible. He only offers surgery as a medical solution if he honestly believes that it will improve a patient’s condition, with minimal risk involved. His goal is to keep patients in the hospital for as short a time as possible, which I’ve learned is often the goal of other physicians as well – the longer you stay in the hospital, the greater the risk of infection. 3D printing can often help with this goal, but not every surgeon goes straight to this technology as a first option.


Image Credit: Alistair Phillips


How to spot misleading health news

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p04s67yxWhen the UK newspaper, the Independent, analysed the 20 most shared stories in the past year with cancer in the headline, more than half included claims which health authorities or doctors had discredited. Yet many millions of people had considered them interesting enough to share on social media.

If fake news stories about politics can influence voting patterns, then could health stories about unproven treatments result in people eschewing their current medical treatment in favour of the latest recommendation in an article they see? Some fear these articles could be dangerous.

By Claudia Hammond | BBC

Image Credit: Getty Images


3D Printing the Future of Surgery

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patient-specific-osteotomy-guides-63D printing has had and will continue to have impacts on many areas. One of the most hotly anticipated areas for 3D printing to impact is medicine. A myriad of stories have appeared pointing to all manner of exciting innovations in the medical field. Sadly many of the “3D printed ear/nose/heart/ etc.” stories have been rather disingenuous or are at the very least very optimistic. To give you a more accurate view of the possibilities of 3D printing in medicine we’ll look at one particular area: surgery. In surgery there are a number of things happening currently with 3D printing and a number of things that may happen. In general we can say that 3D printing will have a considerable impact on surgery in the near term but that we can not fully predict future impacts at this moment. First we will look at what is happening right now in medical offices, surgical theaters and in patients.


Image Credit: Materialise


How 3D printing could revolutionise surgery

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p04qz7y1Several years ago Edward Evans fell seriously ill when an infection began eating away at his sternum – the bone at the centre of the ribcage that protects the vital organs in the chest. Medication failed to eradicate the problem, so Edward had to undergo surgery to have the infected sternum and parts of his adjacent ribs removed.

At the time, it was impossible for the surgeons to do anything more than cover the resulting defect with Edward’s own muscle, because putting any foreign object into his chest when infection was rampant would almost certainly have resulted in that foreign material also becoming infected.

Edward recovered well from this surgery, but the absence of a solid sternum meant that his heart and lungs were extremely vulnerable, and his quality of life was limited. So doctors at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham arranged for Edward to undergo another operation to have a new sternum implanted.


Image Credit: BBC (UK)


A review of recent medical advances using 3D printing and 3D bioprinting

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skull-906x6792x3D Printing Industry reviews recent real world examples of 3D bioprinting and additive manufacturing methods in medicine.

The use of 3D printing for surgical planning took another step forward recently, we look at the use of 3D printing for surgical planning by 3D Systems. We also see how 3D printed bone matter and cartilage for regenerative medicine research is progressing. And finally, we get to the heart of discoveries with 3D printed vascular tissue, returning to China’s macaque monkeys who received effective implant of a 3D printed vein.

By Beau Jackson | 3D Printing Industry


Betty Regains Mobility in Shattered Elbow with Medical 3D Printing

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1a64a5b0-3cf6-4624-a960-9e1129e7624d-originalBetty and her husband were about to leave on their annual holiday to Spain when they heard the bad news: her husband was terminally ill. The situation only got worse when Betty fell during the holiday and shattered her right elbow. Although she received medical attention, it was impossible to allow the bones to heal properly at a time when her husband needed all her care and attention.

She bravely weathered through the last months of her husband’s life, but after he passed away her arm was still not functioning properly and causing her considerable pain. It was time for Betty to heal, both mentally and physically. Production house Nieveranst filmed her gripping journey for RobTv.

By  Stephanie Benoit | Materialise