Materialise is one of the most important 3D printing companies outside of systems manufacturers. As a software developer and service provider, the Belgian company has been leading in providing unique 3D printing solutions for industries ranging from the medical field to aerospace. In medicine, in particular, Materialise has been responsible for numerous, patient-specific implants and pre-surgical models that represent the future of medical technology. Now, that futuristic technology is going to be even more accessible to hospitals worldwide through a new software package called Materialise Mimics inPrint.
While patient-specific implants serve to increase the long-term success of medical treatments and reduce surgical times, pre-surgical models allow doctors to accurately plan complex procedures before they get into the operating room, also resulting in cutting surgical times. Previously, clinical engineers were leveraged to convert patient medical scan data into 3D printable models, leaving many hospitals out of luck, given the expense of such services. With inPrint, part of the Materialise Mimics Care Suite, doctors will be able to create 3D anatomical models quickly and easily, without necessarily relying on clinical engineers.
Mimics inPrint integrates with existing hospital picture archiving and communication system (PACS) systems, allowing doctors to find patient images and directing them through the process of creating 3D printable models from the data, step by step. According to Materialise, even beginners are able to pull of this process, due to the program’s semi-automated segmentation tools, with a heart segmentation tool that can produce models of heart components in a few steps. The resulting models are meant to be anatomically accurate and 3D printable with reliability, with potential print errors automatically detected and fixed. inPrint is also designed for easy construction of patient-specific medical devices, the company claims. These models can then be shared across devices as interactive PDFs and 3D printed on the device of a clinician’s choice.
Materialise Founder and CEO Wilfried Vancraen says of the new product, “Our goal is to make 3D printing an integral part of what hospitals utilize when preparing for complex surgeries. Our new Materialise Mimics inPrint solution makes this easier and more accessible than ever before by making it much easier for surgeons to learn and use. Both hospitals and their patients stand to benefit from the democratization of anatomical 3D printing in hospitals.”
Materialise has already become an integral part of the 3D printing solutions hospitals have begun to use to improve medical care. If the software really does deliver what Materialise says it does, it could have a powerful impact on the medical industry, giving doctors an important tool for creating customized solutions for their patients.