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3D-printed skulls to be used for endoscopy training

7/25/2016, Milan Šurkala
Medicine can greatly benefit from modern 3D-printing technology. University of Virginia Health System is going to use 3D models of a human skull to train young doctors how to perform nasal endoscopy.
Like many doctors say, the 3D-printing technology is going to revolutionize medicine. We have already talked about 3D printing heart tissues in space, tooth implants or organs in order to prepare surgeries better. Something similar has also been done at University of Virginia Health System by a nose specialist Dr. Jose Gurrola with Dwight Dart, a lab engineer at UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Rapid Prototyping 3-D Printing Lab, and Dr. Robert Reed.
Dr. Jose Gurrola
They have created the system that will make CT and MRI scans of the patient's head and convert them to 3D printable files. The 3D model of the skull is printed and can be used for practising of nasal endoscopy. This intervention is not very pleasant one and, therefore, it is better to practise that or to avoid it if possible.
3D-printed skull
The young doctor students can try it before they are working with real humans and that can make them less nervous in practice. Moreover, the doctors can study the problems without carrying out the procedure on real patient at all. It is beneficial both for doctors and patient that do not need to undergo the procedure.
In the past, the trainees were practising the procedure on each other. They tried quite hard because they were going to undergo the procedure right after. Later, Rd. Gurolla let the students to practice this procedure on him.