3D Printing

3D Systems Medical Modeling Acquisition Making a Difference

Virtual Surgical Planning (VSC), Medical Modeling’s latest development in personalized surgery solutions, made it possible for Jayla Vargas to undergo an extremely complex surgical procedure when she was one month old, to modify her undersized jaw and allow her to breathe without the need of a surgically created opening in her windpipe. Without this technological breakthrough, an operation such as this would have impossible on an infant.

3D Systems’ recent acquisition of Medical Modeling is already proving most beneficial. Led by founder Andy Christensen, this bespoke surgical modeling cloud-based system allows surgeons to practice complex (and often previously inoperable) surgical situations in a virtual 3D environment, using 3D models from MRI’s and CT Scans.

They can then use the 3D information to develop personalized supports – ranging from actual surgical tools to physical models and prostheses – that dramatically simplify all procedures in the operating room. Through VSC, a complex operation that may have required multiple “trial and error” surgical procedures can now be practiced virtually and then carried out on the patient in a single surgical session.

In the case of little Jayla Vargas, a team from the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, lead by attending surgeon Oren Tepper, M.D., used VSP technology for assistance in studying a personalized surgical procedure to modify the shape of the little girl’s jaw.

“VSP has not only helped make surgical procedures more precise, but offers the potential to change the scope of what is surgically possible,” said Dr. Tepper. “In the case of lower jaw lengthening procedures for children, the surgeon can plan the operation on the computer first, and identify any problems before getting to the operating room.”

Traditionally, in such cases, surgeons had been unable to perform the series of surgeries required to reshape a child’s jaw due to the pain and risks associated while the patient is very young. However, utilizing VSP technology Dr. Tepper successfully corrected Jayla’s jaw and spared her additional years of living with a tracheostomy (usually the operation is performed when the patient is at least six years old).

“VSP represents the latest development in the 3D printing-enabled personalized surgery revolution,” commented Andy Christensen, now Vice President, Personalized Surgery and Medical Devices, at 3D Systems. “The ability to work seamlessly from a proprietary digital thread to a virtual and, ultimately, an actual world gives surgeons never-before-possible precision and control.”

According to Christensen, specifically relating to distraction osteogenesis surgery (that is surgery to lengthen part of the anatomy, in this case the lower jaw) this technology provides the possibility to reduce costs across the healthcare system by providing care at an earlier stage for patients who would traditionally require a longer-term tracheostomy. As it turns out Jayla Vargas will not be the only one to benefit from the increased collaboration between 3D Systems and Medical Modeling but the healthcare sector as a whole.