In recent years, with the development of 3D printing technology , 3D printing will be widely used in clinical medicine. At the same time, 3D printing technology has the characteristics of rapid prototyping , accurate digital model-driven personalized manufacturing and good at making complex shape entities. It will be able to customize surgical instruments according to the needs, in order to solve the problem of individual differences among patients. Ophthalmologists at Tongren Hospital rely on this technology to customize a scalpel for themselves.

Personalized scalpel

3d printing is known in the academic world as additive manufacturing , or rapid prototyping. The traditional processing method is cutting, and 3d printing is a technique that uses a layer of material to build a three-dimensional solid structure. Its most important feature is the ability to personalize and manufacture complex structures.

According to Dr. Qi Peng, from the Beijing Computing Center, there are individual differences in the medical field, both by the operator and the operator. With 3D printing technology, surgery data can be obtained in advance by obtaining data from patients and doctors. Device planning.

This custom scalpel does not look special, but Qi Xiaopeng revealed that the angle of the cutter head is the key. Ophthalmologists at Tongren Hospital hope that by adjusting the angle, the scalpel will not only conform to its own habits, but also help to improve the success rate of surgery for a specific patient.

“Initially, doctors put forward their own needs, and we quickly completed the construction of digital models, and then precise rapid prototype iterations.” Qi Xiaopeng said that the customization process of the surgical instruments is not complicated. The design of the scalpel was only used for one hour, and the 3D technology printed the prototype in just half an hour.

In his opinion, the biggest advantage of this method of production is the speed of response. “Patients are generally less than a week from admission to surgery. Therefore, surgery and equipment planning need to be completed within a week. Traditional processing methods cannot complete all the processes in such a short period of time.”

Materials and forming technology

According to Qi Xiaopeng, at present, the development of 3D technology is particularly dependent on the cooperation of materials and molding technology.

In the medical field, according to different application requirements, printed materials can generally be divided into four types. The first is collectively referred to as a material with no biological properties. It is mainly used to make individualized models in vitro, used for surgical planning, disease treatment, or to assist doctors in communicating with patients. Surgical instruments are one of them; the second is to have Biocompatible material. Personalized devices made from this material can be implanted into the body to help repair damaged organs and restore function; the third is biodegradable materials that are degradable. This material can help the regeneration of tissue in the body while it can be absorbed and expelled by the body.

The first three materials are inanimate, and in medical 3D printing, the most challenging printing material is alive, that is, using living cells as a printing material, it can print out the three-dimensional structure of cells, used for Study the regeneration of the organization, study the causes of the disease and the role of drugs.

In addition, among the many molding technologies, polyjet technology is the best in terms of performance and precision that Qi Xiaopeng believes. This method is used in medical 3D printing. This customized scalpel is also used. Print technology is molded.

Qi Xiaopeng said that polyjet is called resin spray curing technology, which uses a photosensitive resin material. This material is very sensitive to light of a specific wavelength and can be cured after irradiation. Polyjet is similar to an "inkjet printer" in which an ultra-thin photosensitive resin is applied to the molding chamber. After each layer is laid, the ultraviolet light bulb on the side of the nozzle holder immediately emits ultraviolet light to quickly cure and harden each layer of photosensitive resin. Each time a layer is printed, the machined chassis inside the machine will sink extremely accurately, and the nozzles will continue to work layer by layer until the prototype is completed.

At the time of molding, the polyjet uses two different photosensitive resin materials: one is a molding material for forming a solid part, and the other type of colloid is used as a supporting material for the supporting member. After the molding is completed, the support material can be easily removed with only one water jet, leaving a smooth surface.

He introduced that polyjet technology was invented and patented by foreign companies. At present, it does not have its own equipment and patent licenses in China, and must rely on imports. Therefore, there are few organizations that can use this printing technology.

Popularization challenges

Despite the unlimited potential of 3D printing in the medical field, there is no relevant 3D printed medical device safety and evaluation system and legal support in China. The "Measures for the Administration of Medical Device Registration" clearly stipulates that clinical research on 3D printed medical devices must be submitted to cfda for approval before proceeding. Qi Xiaopeng said that at present, medical personnel are still unable to use 3D printed medical devices in medical practice, and can only be used as experimental treatment.

“Materials for 3D printing are still in the research stage, and the core technology of domestic 3D printers is relatively weak, and the existing molding technology has developed relatively rough.” Qi Xiaopeng admits that it is still technically challenging to penetrate and popularize 3D printing in the medical field.

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