May 10, 2005 — The leaders of the Rapid Prototyping (RP) industry will announce today free medical support for victims in Iraq at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing conference in Dearborn US. “RP for Baghdad” is a humanitarian joint effort of Fried Vancraen-Materialise, Abe Reichental-3D Systems, Scott Crump-Stratasys and Tom Clay-Z-Corporation to provide medical models for victims in Iraq.
The effort will focus on the most severely injured victims with serious head injuries or missing limbs. While helping people in serious need, the RP industry will demonstrate how its technology can fundamentally influence people’s lives for the better. Even in the difficult environment of war, 3D printed models based on medical image data are important tools to support surgeons in the most complex craniofacial reconstruction surgeries.
The Iraqi League for Medical Profession is providing the infrastructure for this service. People with serious injuries will first be CT Scanned at a medical facility. The data from the scan will be processed using the Mimics software of Materialise to generate a 3D Model of the anatomy. 3D Systems, Stratasys and Z-Corporation will provide physical models based from the virtual model. The models will be delivered back to a surgeon in Iraq who can use this bone replica to plan and practice surgery on. As the project progresses the plan is to build RP parts for socket construction in artificial limbs.
Rapid Prototyping for Medical Use
The use of rapid prototyping in the medical field allows the industry’s digital product design to be tangible beyond the scope of product designers and engineers. The RP technology prints digital designs in 3 dimensions, the way a printer prints text or photo’s in 2 dimensions. The technology is used for the rapid printing of industrial designs/prototypes such as dashboards for a new car or casing for a new cell phone. The technology is also used in the medical world. Starting from digital CT scan data, it’s possible to print exact replicas from parts of the human body. For example, if you scan a person’s head, you can make a model of their skull or brain. These medical models offer surgeons the possibility to study, prepare and even practice before starting complex surgeries. By using a medical model the surgeon has a better understanding of what he can expect before a surgery has started. This advanced medical technology has saved many lives and has consistently improved surgical outcomes. A well known example of the use of medical models was the separation of the Egyptian conjoined twins Ahmed and Mohamed in October 2003. Without the models provided by Medical Modeling Corporation, this surgery would have never been attempted.
Complete information about every aspect of the project will be available at
www.RP4Baghdad.org. Accurate descriptions of the status of all daily work will be updated regularly. Medical cases will be described in such a way patient data will be kept anonymous. All financial data including contributions of the sponsors and detailed expenses will be listed in the financial section. All contributions go directly to the patients and the medical staff in Iraq.
The major players in the RP industry have given their commitment to support the center with free software for the production of models, free models and a necessary working capital. Additional sponsors are welcome and encouraged to join this humanitarian effort.
To find out more about the founding companies participating in this project, check out their websites:
Contact: Colleen Wivell