New York's Mount Sinai sets up 3D printing service

Mount Sinai Health System in New York City said it is establishing a 3D printing lab to create 3D models for applications such as virtual reality and surgical simulation.

Based in the department of neurosurgery, the Medical Modeling Core at the Icahn School of Medicine will offer low-cost models on a fee-for-service basis for as little as one-tenth of the cost a private firm would charge, the institution said.

"Our simulation, prototyping, and 3D printing resources developed here at Mount Sinai are rare for a medical institution," said Dr. Joshua Bederson, chair of the department of neurosurgery and clinical director of the school's neurosurgery simulation core. "These models are used in the planning stages for minimally invasive approaches and can be a trial run for the surgery. In conjunction with simulation, they also play an important role in the patient consultation process."

The prototyping center uses four 3D printers and a laser cutter to deliver patient-specific neuroanatomy for surgery planning, the center said. For the physical models, materials range from a gypsum powder base made of plastic to polyamide or nylon, epoxy resin, wax, photopolymers, and polycarbonate. Using the equipment, engineers can fabricate models and functional parts for a wide range of applications.

The center has recently printed skull-base tumors with surrounding vasculature and cranial nerves, spine modeling for the correction of scoliosis, and pelvic models to plan arthroscopy, said Dr. Anthony Costa, PhD, an assistant professor of neurosurgery and scientific director of the neurosurgery simulation lab. Along with neurosurgery, the center has established links with many other departments including orthopedics, otolaryngology, and cardiology.

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