Health Service Focus

06.12.19

Moulding The Future With 3D Printing

Source : NHE Nov/Dec

 

Professor Peter Marsden, head of Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering, UCLH

3D printing is a relatively new technology with a rapidly growing number of applications. However, scientists and engineers in the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) in Central London have been using the technology for the benefit of healthcare for nearly 20 years.

Data obtained from CT scans are used to create maps of anatomical structures which can be programmed in to sophisticated printers to create life-sized models of the originals. One of the first applications introduced at UCLH is to model craniofacial defects caused by trauma or disease and to create a bespoke digital surface as a perfect fit to restore the original anatomy.

A 3D model of the anatomy is used to form a mould which shapes a sheet of titanium in a hydraulic press. Skilled mechanical engineers then ensure the metal plate is a perfect fit to the anatomical model. For lateral defects, clinical scientists and software engineers create mirror images of the respective surfaces on the healthy side of the head.

A later development was to print accurate 3D replicas of craniofacial bone structures to assist surgeons in planning complex operations. This helps improve surgical outcomes and reduced operation times. Anatomical models are also routinely used in junior doctor training. The next phase of development is to expand 3D printing to produce surgical guides using bio-compatible materials, which will help surgeons to achieve the best results and even shorter operation times.

The department’s Mechanical Workshop has recently acquired additional 3D resin printers that allow the use of many different types of materials, eg. tough, durable, flexible and bio-compatible resins. Engineers now design a range of bespoke parts for use within the hospital. By printing lost or damaged parts for various equipment they have saved the Trust several thousand pounds in the first year of operations.

They routinely print parts for patient monitors and recently designed and printed specialised carriages for network switches and various accessories required for upgrades to theatre equipment and a bespoke protective funnel which was then mounted onto a trolley to allow safe transportation of delicate fibre optic and laser equipment.

The team is currently manufacturing a MRI scanner model for use in educating young patients prior to treatment. This new technology allows engineers to be virtually unrestricted when designing bespoke solutions which ultimately benefit patient care and experience. 

As an early adopter of 3D printing technology, Medial Physics have brought benefits to UCLH and many other NHS hospitals that use their services.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

First NHS trusts introduce NHS SBS’ The Edge4Health

16/01/2020First NHS trusts introduce NHS SBS’ The Edge4Health

A major new procurement platform developed by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), The Edge4Health, is being adopted by NHS trust staff across... more >
NHS mental health director demands urgent gambling action

16/01/2020NHS mental health director demands urgent gambling action

The director of NHS mental health, Claire Murdoch, has penned a written plea to the heads of top gambling firms, urging them to take action on im... more >
Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

16/01/2020Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ discus... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

16/01/2020Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ discusses the need to move the treatment of patients from primary to secondary care and how the NHS People Plan can help achieve this. Throughout my (overlong) career in the NHS, the national policy on modernising the way NHS services are delivered has been pretty consistent. All recent governments; ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

interviews

Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

07/12/2019Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

Mike Farrar Chairperson of Swim England Would you talk us through your previous roles within the NHS? I’ve held a number of ... more >
Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >