J.A. Juanes Méndez1, F. Blaya Haro2, J. Gómez-Lagándara3, P. Ruisoto Palomera4, J.J. Gómez Borrallo3

1University of Salamanca (SPAIN)
2Politecnic University of Madrid, E.T.S. Enginering and Industrial Design (SPAIN)
3Image and Technological knowledge Centre (CITEC-B) (SPAIN)
4University of Salamanca, VisualMed System Gropup (SPAIN)
One of the technologies that has grown the most in recent years is 3D printing. This new way of printing is implemented in different medical specialties, but its main applications are in anatomy.

This technology allows us to transform a digitally generated design in our computer into a physical object with material that can be used in teaching. We then get a file of human part prototypes to be handled by students.

In this study, we show the development of anatomical parts generated with different quality 3D printers.

This technology resource can ease the problem many schools with little teaching material have, due to its elevated cost and difficult storage. Parts of the human body like bones, viscera, etc., can be reproduced using this technology.

The possibility of scanning real anatomical images using Computerized Tomography and turning these images into 3D printed anatomical models, is an excellent teaching resource. There are many programs in the market which allow three-dimensional designs, such as Maya, 3D Max, both from Autodesk, among others. Once the 3D anatomical part is modelled we can color it and create a file format the 3D printer can use to reproduce, layer by layer, a part of the body. Every 3D printed anatomical structure was rigorously tested by a team of expert anatomists. The parts we get are very similar to the real ones, useful when teaching different subjects in medical school.

On the other hand, 3D printing can also provide exact models of a structure that is going to be surgically intervened (vertebrae; prosthesis, etc.), working with full-scale prototypes and with successful results in surgical interventions.