Introduction: Surgical 3D Printing

Rapid prototyping in surgery allows to better support personalized medicine and individualized surgical procedures. As an extension of the well established Osirix software, an image processing application for Mac dedicated to Medical/DICOM images, an open-source 3D printing plugin was developed to allow multi-material 3D printing directly from the OsiriX image analysis and visualization platform.

OsiriX : http://www.osirix-viewer.com/

Step 1: Multiple View Types Are Avaible

A viewer is dedicated for multi mesh visualization and manipulation. Meshes may be displayed as a uniform surface, a meshed surface or a point-cloud.

Step 2: Smoothing

A windowed sinc function interpolation kernel is used for smoothing. It's quite useful.

Step 3: Constructive Solid Geometry

In case of mesh overlapping, the plugin can automatically separate meshing structures through the use of mesh semantics.

A view is dedicated to mesh semantics and is horizontally filled with blocks representing manipulated meshes. By swapping a block with it’s right or left neighbor, one defines the way it will be used in case of mesh overlapping removal. Most left blocks are called inner blocks. Most right blocks are called outer blocks.

To illustrate the use of the inner and outer blocks, lets imagine we have a vessel mesh and a bone mesh overlapping with each other. During the use of the Boolean difference operation, the outer block will see its mesh updated, in order to remove the overlapping part. In case the blood vessel is an inner block and the bone an outer block, the bone mesh will be updated for overlapping removal and its overlapping part will be removed. The blood vessel mesh will stay unchanged. In case the blood vessel is an outer block and the bone is an inner block, the blood vessel overlapping part will be removed.

Step 4: Slic3r Visualization

With the use of Slic3r, multi-material AMF and g-code fies can be created.

Step 5: Printing Example 1

I'm not a pro in practical multi-material 3D printing. However, this example illustrates a multi-material printing.

Transparant PLA for the vertebra and red TPC for the arteries.

Step 6: Printing Example 2

Here is an example with yellow NinjaFlex and red SemiFlex. NinjaFlex is really flexible and would be optimal for printing organs, as for example hearts or brains.

Imagine you to have to get a surgery and the surgeon prints a real-sized multi-material part of your body that he will operate on with. He then can try out a few surgical techniques to find out what optimal surgery you should. With multi-material he can simulate vessels, muscles, bones, and many other biological tissues.

Wouldn't that be great ?

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