‘ZPrinted’ 3D Models Help Improve Oral Surgery

Planmeca’s skull, jaw and teeth models, produced with Z Corporation 3D printing technology, dramatically enhance surgical results

BURLINGTON, Mass., USA — Sept. 1, 2010 — Planmeca Oy, the largest privately owned high-tech dental equipment maker, is using Z Corporation3D printing technology to transform maxillofacial surgery, leading to shorter procedures, reduced hospital stays, lower health-care costs and improved patient outcomes.

The Finnish company is providing specialists around the world with detailed multicolor 3D physical models for pre-operative planning. Surgeons can practice removing tumors and precisely fit plates and screws on the highly accurate 3D models.

Surgeons report to Planmeca that having 3D physical models can save as much as two hours from difficult procedures, two days from an intensive care stay, and 10 percent of the operations’ cost. The company prints hundreds of models every year.

“X-rays provide a lot of critical information, but for complex procedures, a 3D physical model can make a world of difference,” said Jukka Kanerva, Product Manager for Planmeca. “As the surgeon can familiarize themselves with the anatomy beforehand, the patients spend less time under anesthesia, less time with open tissue, less time in the hospital afterward, and less time undergoing remedial procedures.”

Planmeca  ProModel service employs a  ZPrinter® 450 multicolor 3D printer to produce the models. The process starts in the dental office or hospital. Doctors X-ray the patient, typically with a Planmeca ProMax 3D machine, then use an electronic form in the Planmeca Romexis imaging software to send the data electronically to Planmeca headquarters in Helsinki . Planmeca ProModel professionals use Z Corporation’s  ZEdit™ Pro software to color-code tumors, nerves, and existing dental hardware. In less than 24 hours, the model is finished and shipped to the doctor.

Planmeca ProModel’s 3D printer produces physical skull and jaw models from 3D data much as document printers produce business letters from digital text. Planmeca chose a ZPrinter because Z Corporation’s are the world’s fastest 3D printers and the only ones capable of simultaneously printing in multiple colors. Multicolor 3D printing capability enables Planmeca to not only spotlight critical areas on skulls, jaws, and teeth, but also to annotate models with text labels. The ZPrinter 450 is also easy to use, highly automated, and self-contained, making it cleaner than a document printer and suitable for a professional environment, says Kanerva.

“Planmeca ProModel is an important service for Planmeca,” said Kanerva. “It’s improving patients’ lives and helping us continually develop products and services that improve results for patients and providers alike. ZPrinting is an indispensable part of the cycle.”

About Z Corporation

Z Corporation 3D technologies help product designers, engineers and architects create the right designs the first time. Professionals use ZPrinter 3D printers, ZBuilder rapid prototyping machines and ZScanner® 3D laser scanners to compress the design cycle, generate new concepts, communicate clearly, foster collaboration, and reduce errors. These solutions span the entire 3D CAD/BIM design process from concept through design verification. For more information, visit www.zcorp.com.

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