Study: 3D Printing Cuts Surgery Costs


Additive manufacturing has once again found its way into some unique applications – and with dramatic results.

According to 3D Printing, researchers from the University of California San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital have teamed up for an experiment that looks to address surgery times for the most common hip disorders in children ages 9 to 16 being addressed by orthopedic surgeons.

Engineers used 3D printers to create planning models, which allowed the physicians to practice ahead of surgery. This allegedly cut the time spent in surgery by an amount that translated into $2,700 in cost savings per surgery. When you consider the models were printed on a device that only cost $2,200 – and material for each model was about $10 apiece – the ROI is pretty astounding.

This new method could replace the use of radiology, or X-rays, for surgery planning, which is not only time consuming but exposes young patients to radiation.

On the heels of the results of this interesting study – the site has also reported another amazing impact from additive in the medical space: Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a silicone artificial heart using a 3D printer, considered “the first entirely soft artificial heart.”

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