a team of researchers led by professor cheng shujie from the affiliated hospital of hebei university are now introducing precise 3d printed liver models that reproduce complex anatomies at a much lower cost than has previously been available. these medical models are making their way into hospitals around the world as medical professionals begin to recognize their value.

images courtesy of affiliated hospital of hebei university



hepatic surgeries, and the liver specifically have proven viable targets for researchers developing 1:1 exact models. the models show the entire liver, including internal tissue and structures, and have shown demonstrable benefits for physicians, including increased surgical safety, reduced intraoperative hemmorrhage, and fewer post-op complications.



led by cheng the hebei-based team sought to achieve the accuracy that a 3D printer with with multi-color and multi-material capabilities could allow, but without the $3,000-$4,500 cost each model would create. to combat costs and obtain high resolution in their medical models, the team turned to stereolithography, a method which can create a detailed, life-sized liver model for approximately $80-$90.



using the more cost-efficient SLA 3D printing technology, which requires only one low error rate assembly step that the team notes has a low error rate, they are able to create an accurate representation of an individuals liver. but the 3D models are not without their drawbacks. each model currently requires approximately 30 hours of work following completion of the print job and resin. the other drawback is that in more complex models the time and cost of the method can increase immensely. these 3D printed models come at a time where methods such as these are growing increasingly popular within he medical industry. 


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