The much heralded benefits of 3D printing in the Health Sector have received a lot of attention in recent months, from Bio-medical materials opening up new areas of research to bespoke prosthetics changing patients lives.

The barrier to widespread adoption hasn’t been recognition of the potential benefits, simply the common factors cost and expertise.

Once thought the provision of the well funded practitioners 3D printing has now become genuinely accessible to every patient, nurse, doctor, surgeon, hospital and teaching facility.

Patients broken Scapula in Ultimaker’s open source slicing software Cura.

Thanks to the wonderful efforts of Boyd Goldie, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, and his team the medical industry is now set to reap the benefits of open source technology.

Using medical image computing software 3D Slicer, Cura and an Ultimaker 2 (all 3 products are open source) Boyd 3D printed a fractured scapula that the team then used in surgery.

Image of a Scapula

The feedback from the the surgeon and colleagues was fantastic citing they found it very helpful.

What’s really exciting about this development isn’t the ground breaking use of 3D printing as these are becoming abundant. Boyd states “Printing out a broken bone is not a first.  However the use of the open source software 3D Slicer and an affordable 3D printer is.”  What’s exciting is this is now a viable option for every patient.

3D Printed Scapula

Free open source software coupled with industry standard 3D printing capabilities of the Ultimaker 2 at consumer prices mean most hospitals can improve patient care in a tangible, cost effiecient way.

There may be hope for the NHS yet!

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