New medical facility opens
China’s first Pediatric 3D Digital Medical Research Center was unveiled in Shanghai on August 13. The center, jointly established with the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center and Materialise NV, a leading provider of 3D software and printing solutions, will focus on pediatric heart diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
According to the center, the combination of 3D digital medical research and 3D printing technology will help with rebuilding pathological models, especially those of congenital heart diseases. More than 3,700 congenital heart diseases operations have been carried out at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center to date.
“3D printing technology will help bridge the gaps in rebuilding a patient’s anatomical model through traditional imaging methods,” said Liu Jinfen, director of the research center, who is also the director of Shanghai Institute For Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease.
“In the past, a heart surgeon had to rely on his experience and assessment of the situation during an operation. Now, with a 3D model of the heart, the surgeon can fully understand the physiological anatomy structure and accurately determine the strength of blood flow at different positions. This will help the surgeon develop a more suitable and individualized operation plan for patient,” Liu added.
Compared with traditional biological specimen models, the 3D model provides more convenience in terms of creation, collection and storage, and also helps lower costs. The technology will also prove useful in creating a database of cases and establishing disease maps, according to experts.
Jiang Zhongyi, president of Shanghai Children’s Medical Center said they will also promote the use of 3D digital medical technology in the fields of pediatric general surgery, plastic surgery, orthopedics and facial features. Meanwhile, they will also strive to train more medical talent to use this technology.
Kim Francois, general manager of Materialise China, said the company will provide software training, 3D model printing and construction, clinical software development and technology support for the new center.
Earlier this year, 12-weekold conjoined twin girls from Jiangxi province were successfully separated in Shanghai with the assistance of 3D printing technology. The girls, who weighed a combined 9.55 kg, were connected by soft tissue at the hips and had separate digestive systems.
Before the operation, doctors had sent the girls’ CT and MRI data to a 3D printing company to rebuild the anatomical structure of the conjoined body parts.
“With the 3D model, we were able to better understand the actual anatomical structure of the twins and it helped us to determine a more precise starting point on the body,” a doctor said.