The 3D Printing and Imaging Laboratory (3DPI) at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital was one of the first in its region to bring three-dimensional printing technology to support pre-surgical planning, particularly for patients with complex heart problems.
The 3DPI is able to create 3D models and prints based on special x-rays (for example a CT or CAT scan or MRI) that provide 3-dimensional information. The 3D printer is able to produce an exact replica (model) of a patient’s anatomy from these photos using resins, thermoplastics, photopolymers, or other materials.
Nicklaus was one of the first hospitals to acquire the Stratasys J750, one of the most advanced polymer printers on the market. The J750 has allowed our interdisciplinary team of biomedical engineer and physicians to deliver anatomical models in an array of materials, textures, and colors at a microscopic level resolution. 3D printing has become a valuable resource for the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Heart Program where it became standard of care for pre-planning in complex congenital surgical repairs.
In addition to surgical planning, goals of the program are to:
- Improve patient and family experience (understanding and confidence) around surgeries
- Support education and training in simulation laboratories at Nicklaus and across the region
- Demonstrate efficacy of this technology to payors (health insurance providers)
- Become a leader in innovation in the 3D modeling space in the region and across the country
Over 2018, the 3DPI program produced over 400 models for surgical planning and education.