How 3D Printing Can Help Plastic Surgery

Written on January 26, 2016 at 4:17 pm

iStock_000008112008XXXLargeThe future has arrived, bringing with it exciting innovations that range from hoverboards to 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. There’s already plenty of buzz about the many capabilities of three dimensional printing, including creating parts for the automotive and aerospace industries. The technology also has the capacity to make prosthetics, medical devices and even human organs, marking a profound development in the healthcare industry. Adding to its list of accomplishments is 3D printing’s ability to aid the field of plastic surgery.

Try Before You Buy

A small number of plastic surgeons are now using 3D printing to create three dimensional, full color models of proposed modifications. Using the technology in this manner provides people with a lifelike representation of their potential outcome from plastic surgery. For example, women interested in breast augmentation can be presented with a model that’s comparable in size to their own chest, but with the proposed enhancements in size, shape and dimension.

3D printed models have a clear advantage over Photoshop or other computer-generated two dimensional images. Realistic models that are specific to an individual’s surgical results helps people to be better prepared and make informed decisions about their procedure.

Help in the Consultation Room and the Operating Room

With the assistance of a 3D model, people are able to proceed with their chosen plastic surgery procedure more confidently, and plastic surgeons also benefit. Surgeons can use 3D printing to create surgical models that can be used as blueprints for the surgery. 3D models provide a visual, palpable guidepost to help the surgeon achieve precise results.

Use of 3D printing in the world of cosmetic surgery is new, so it may be some time before the innovation becomes a regular feature of plastic surgery offices across the country. Nonetheless, the prospects are exciting.