3-D Printing not Just for Medicine Anymore
When I was a rep for Stryker Leibinger I sold craniofacial plates and screws for trauma surgery. I’ve often said it was the best job I ever had, in that I really felt I was a part (a very, very small part) of improving the lives those who needed it most, trauma patients. I was privileged to witness some of the amazing procedures that others were only able to read about in medical books or journals. Everything from horse hoof to the head to brain surgery. Not all of the cases were trauma some were craniofacial defects from birth and were scheduled procedures.
That’s an important distinction because it allows time for the surgeon to use other technologies to aid in the future surgery. Medicine is one area that often gets technology ahead of the curve and Medical Modeling was just that, ahead of the curve. A surgeon would send the CT of the patient’s head to Medical Modeling, and (I think it was a few weeks then 2000) a 3D model would be sent back to the surgeon. This technology allowed the surgeon to plan every move in the OR down to an exact before ever stepping in. I would provide the surgeon with my samples so they could map out exactly which plate they would use where and how many screws exactly it was going to take.
Unlike in the OR, during this time, they would have hours or even days to try different combinations ahead of time until it was ‘good.’ I’m sure many of you are asking is ‘good,’ good enough? There was a phrase taught to me by one of my surgeons who used Medical Modeling, in the OR ‘the enemy of ‘good’ is ‘better,’ meaning that it was perfect already but anytime a surgeon felt the need to one more tweak to make it ‘better,’ inevitably it was made worse.
So this story on 3D printing and fashion caught my eye for two reasons: I love fashion and I loved working with skilled surgeons who taught me the marvels of 3D printing long before it was en vogue. (And, really those shoes are too dark and clunky with that ‘dress.’ Sorry I couldn’t help myself).
The image at the top of the page: The Craniofacial Model Skull Library™ was created by selecting diagnosis-specific 3D CT datasets from the craniofacial deformities imaging archive established by Drs. Jeffery L. Marsh and Michael W. Vannier (maintained by Dr. Marsh) from 1983-2003 in St. Louis. Over 2000 CT scans were reviewed by Dr. Marsh and Dr. Chad Perlyn, with technical assistance from Mr. Dan Govier, to identify those scans with the most characteristic dysmorphology of the particular congenital anomaly prior to any intervention.