Medical & Dental

NHS hospitals in northeast England become latest beneficiaries of a 3D printing lab

axial3D, a medical manufacturing service provider headquartered in Northern Ireland, is providing Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with an on-site 3D printing lab. Housed at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, one of six potential beneficiaries of the facility, the lab will be used to produced patient-specific models for pre-surgical planning.

According to Andrew Bowey, a spinal surgeon at Newcastle Hospitals, “3D printing has become an essential part of pre-operative planning in complex spinal cases.” “In Newcastle,” he adds, “we’re excited to now roll 3D printing out across the trust. The benefits in other areas, such as trauma, are clear to see.”

Daniel Crawford, CEO at axial3D, adds, “We warmly welcome Newcastle to the growing number of institutions who have selected axial3D as their medical 3D printing partner across the world.”

3D printed medical model. Photo via axial3D
A detailed 3D printed medical model segmenting bone and vessels. Photo via axial3D

On-site 3D printing in hospitals

axial3D was founded in 2014 to help healthcare providers adopt 3D printing. Partnered with companies including Formlabs and value added reseller GoPrint3D, the company supplies hospitals with the equipment needed to set up managed, point-of-care 3D printing labs. It also has on demand manufacturing services for medical professionals.

axial3D’s area of expertise is in the production of anatomical models for use in pre-surgical planning, medical training and patient communications, proven to have value to surgical accuracy and patient understanding.

Saving surgeons time

At Newcastle Hospitals, the axial3D printing lab will be primarily used by practitioners in orthopedics and spinal surgery. The facility is housed at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, a patient referral and training hospital, and will be used for daily 3D printing tasks. For anything more comprehensive, members of the Trust, including the local Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Freeman Hospital and Great North Children’s Hospital among others, will have access to 3D printing services shipped from axial3D’s headquarters in Northern Ireland.

One of the attractions for the Trust is the potential time savings 3D printing can offer to such crucial stages of an operation. In one recent case study, Newcastle surgeons relied on the axial3D lab to segment medical images for a case of spinal bifida. A detailed 3D printed model of the deformity was produce on-site within 48 hours, allowing the surgical team to plan an effective operation.

A patient-specific model of spinal bifida deformity created at Newcastle Hospitals. Photo via axial3D
A patient-specific model of spinal bifida deformity created at Newcastle Hospitals. Photo via axial3D

“The Orthopaedic and Spinal team at Newcastle Hospitals have an international reputation for their ground-breaking work on complex conditions,” comments Crawford, “[…] 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.”

“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.”

Other hospitals currently benefiting from production and in-house lab management provided by axial3D include University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland, and Belfast City Hospital. Soon, hospitals in the UK and Europe won’t be the only ones benefiting from axial3D’s expertise. In July this year, the company successfully raised $3 million to fund its expansion into the U.S.

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Featured image shows an anatomical model of a spine 3D printed by axial3D. Photo via axial3D