Clinicians at the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the UK can now print patient-specific models on demand thanks to new in-house medical 3D printing facilities.

The NHS Trust is partnering with axial3D, a leader in medical 3D printing, to deploy in-house printing facilities. The company uses 3D printing to create precise and personalised models of parts of the body generated from patient CT, MRI and PET data and will provide support for clinicians utilising the technology in patient care.

The rise of medical 3D printing

In recent years, 3D printing has had a significant impact on the creation of prosthetics by making personalised prosthetics available to patients for a lower cost and shorter timeframe.

However, the technology is also useful for clinicians, who can use models in pre-operative planning and explaining procedures or diagnosis to patients.

Having ‘point-of-care’ 3D printing onsite accelerates this, allowing clinicians to spend more time focusing on patient care, rather than in a 3D print lab.

For example, one of the trust’s surgeons, Andrew Bowey, was able to save over 120 minutes during a complex surgical procedure on a patient with spina bifida and a severe kyphotic deformity by using a 3D-printed model for pre-surgical planning and to communicate with the surgical team.

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Daniel Crawford, CEO at axial3D, said:

“We are excited to be working closely with the team to assist in making medical 3D printing routine practice within the Trust, to ultimately help improve the quality of patient care across the region.

“3D printing is revolutionising how we deliver patient care. axial3D has created a cost-effective and easy method for hospitals such as Newcastle to provide this technology to their patients, without impacting day to day workloads.”

By 2023, medical 3D printing is expected to be one of the major trends in the global 3D printing market, largely down to the increasing adoption of 3D printing technology by medical professionals.

Read more: Robotic manufacturing in space: 3D printing the space structures of the future.