If you work in an oncology office, you may have been approached about adding rapid prototyping to the practice. If you are unsure about how this could help the physicians you work for, below are answers to basic questions about its practical use for cancer patients.
Can Prototyping Be Used To Visualize A Tumor?
After one of your patients has undergone CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans, the dimensions and shape of the tumor can be fed into the computer of the prototyping machine. Based on the data you enter, the computer then analyzes it and creates a three-dimensional image of the tumor.
Once the computer has completed its design, it then sends the information to the 3-D printer. A model is then created to give the doctors a tangible view of the tumor. This visualization can then help them develop a prognosis and treatment plan that is specific to the cancer.
For example, if a patient has a massive tumor in their liver, the doctors would be able to see its exact dimensions. They could also see if the tumor spikes off into the liver or surrounding organs.
How Can Rapid Prototyping Help When Planning Surgery On A Tumor?
Not only can the computer create a 3-D model of the tumor, but it can also create a model of the adjoining nerves, blood vessels, and tissues. By expanding the data from the test images and entering it into the program, a model can be made of the entire area.
For example, if the patient has a tumor located in their brain, this can be a delicate surgical procedure because of the risks to the fragile nerves. If the doctors are able to see each nerve surrounding the tumor before they open up a patient's head, they can carefully plan how they will cut.
The model will also show any tissue that is connecting the tumor to the brain. By being able to see this beforehand, this will help the physicians plan the exact steps they will use to excise the tumor.
This could help prevent unnecessary damage to the brain tissue, as well as cut down on the time it is exposed to the air. This would then minimize the risk of infection around the surgical site and inside the brain.
The above answers will give you an overview about a couple of the benefits of using rapid prototyping in your office's oncology practice. If you have more questions, you may want to discuss them with your doctors and the customer service representative for the prototyping machines.