How Veterans Affairs uses medical 3D printing to assist in surgeries

Ever since US military has started allocating a defined budget to 3D printing projects, we saw the technology being used in construction, on ships, and for activities on the battlefield. It’s interesting to see that the technology is also deployed to support medical applications within the US military services.

Veterans Affairs, an American organization that is responsible for administering benefit programs for veterans, their families, and their survivors, is currently using medical 3D printing for certain surgeries.

It is a premiere for the department that would like to provide better support to surgeons who will perform reconstructive surgeries of the jaw and face. The healthcare team currently relies on an OroMaxilloFacial Advanced Surgical Planning System which ensures pre-surgical planning. Virtual and 3D printed physical models are used with the system to guide procedure and treatment options for patients.

What’s unique and novel about what we’re doing here at the VA is instead of going out to try and find it from a third party, we’re bringing it into the house, into the hospital, right next to the patient and allowing the surgeons that know their patient best to be involved in that,” said Dr. Beth Ripley, an advocate for the expansion of 3D printing technology. She also serves as the deputy chief of the VA’s Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning.

The really cool thing about these printers is that not only can we make these surgical guides … but we also use the same printer to make prosthetics for veterans, we use the same printer to make nasal swabs [for] COVID-19,” Ripley said. “So, you can make hundreds of different types of devices that will benefit veterans.

While she hopes the 3D printing technology would be available to veterans this November, the team continues to work on three 3D printing projects that may soon be submitted for FDA clearance – one of them including a device to assist veterans’ cancer treatment.

Source: Military Times. Remember, you can post jobopportunities in the AM Industry on 3D ADEPT Media free of charge or look for a job via our job board. Make sure to follow us on our social networks and subscribe to our weekly newsletter : FacebookTwitterLinkedIn & Instagram ! If you want to be featured in the next issue of our digital magazine or if you hear a story that needs to be heard, make sure to send it to

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