While at first 3D printing was mainly associated with the automotive and aerospace industries, the beginning of the 21st century called for an additive manufacturing need in a completely different area of expertise: medicine.
As we continue to see incredible advances in technology, 3D printing has become an absolutely necessity throughout the medical industry, and more specifically, a necessity for breast cancer management. Many surgeons all over rely on the following 3D printing applications for both breast conservation and reconstructive surgeries that allow for more personalized pre-surgical planning and customized surgical guides:
- Breast Conservation Surgery and Tumor Localization: tumor location, morphology, and shape can now be determined more precisely which in turn aids surgeons in understanding the true extent of a patient’s disease for the purpose of developing a patient-specific treatment plan.
- Breast Reconstructive Surgery: 3D models can now be used for accurate analyses of breast shape, volume, and contour that ultimately lead to symmetric surgical outcomes. Furthermore, surgeons have the ability to utilize 3D printed breast molds to facilitate the positioning of tissue for optimized breast reconstructive outcomes.
- Physician-patient Communication: through 3D printed models catered to each individual patient, communication between surgeons and patients allows for better preoperative decisions and aids the patient in making more informed decisions regarding their own treatment plans, decreasing the need for secondary surgeries and promoting a better quality of life.
3D printing applications are expected to continue the transformation of breast cancer management in the future, as the concept is becoming increasingly utilized medical training and complex surgical and image guided procedures. Training on these models can be done anywhere, lowering costs and supporting more risk-free environments than we have seen in the past.