Like most radiologists out there, Dr. Beth Ripley is
Dr. Ripley started venturing into 3D printing at the Department of Veterans Affairs at VA Puget Sound Health Care System back in 2016. She believes training aspiring radiologists with thousands of 2-dimensional MRI or CT scans until they are able to confidently identify abnormalities requires time and tremendous effort. However, inputting data and information obtained from these scans to generate a representative anatomical structure via 3D printing, helps in abbreviating the process.
Limited medical usage
Furthermore, 3D printing allows radiologists to have “a richer and more intuitive understanding of a patient’s physiology, which helps to make clearer diagnoses and plan for surgeries,” Dr. Ripley told GE healthcare. Some healthcare professionals thought radiologists are at an advantage to
Presently, the impact of 3D printing on healthcare remains limited because there are not many software companies targeting at the industry. At the very beginning, Dr. Ripley had to adopt non-medical software, with other computer-aided design applications, to create and print out anatomical models for surgeons. Nevertheless, Dr. Ripley is confident that the technology will only aid in the communication between physicians. 3D printing will also enable surgeons to explain to the patient, the complexity of their medical condition and how the surgery is likely to be carried out.
3D printing may be convenient and flexible but it poses a regulatory challenge. As the technology gains popularity and becomes cheaper, it means anyone who has a 3D printer will be able to reproduce medical devices. They need to have to be registered enterprises. Despite so,
All these could ultimately slow down the entire innovation process. What is your thought on 3D printing and radiology? Let us know by commenting below. Do note that AIMed Radiology will take place between 18 and 19 June at Ritz-Carlton, Chicago and we are going to continue our discussions on how artificial intelligence (AI) and new technology are impacting the field of radiology.
A science writer with data background and an interest in current affair, culture and arts; a no-med from an (almost) all-med family. Follow on Twitter.