Editor’s highlights from the August issue of the Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine

Written by Mike Gregg

The August issue of the Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine has been released and as the Commissioning Editor for the journal, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight my top three articles from the new edition.

Journal of 3D Printing in MedicineThe August issue of the Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine has been released and as the Commissioning Editor for the journal, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight my top three articles from the new edition. 

1. An interview with Heon Ju Lee on ROCKIT Healthcare’s novel bioprinting treatment for dermal scarring

My first choice is an interview I conducted with Heon Ju Lee from ROKIT healthcare (Seoul, Korea). This exclusive interview shines a light on the science behind ROKIT’s novel INVIVO bioprinting technique, which produces dermal patch grafts to treat patients with dermal scarring. Lee also discusses the challenges the team faced when developing the technology, from collecting the autologous stem cells to ensuring the dermal patches were uniform in cell density.

Finally, Lee provides fascinating insight into the future of the technology, discussing the current limitations of the INVIVO bioprinting technique and how they are working to overcome them. I have no doubt that the development of bioprinting technologies like this will play an essential role in the future of dermal treatments.

>> Find out more in the full article

2. How to design and construct a 3D-printed human head phantom

Phantoms are physical or numerical tools which are used in medical physics to mimic human anatomy. The authors from this study have outlined how they utilized 3D printing to produce a phantom human head, which has been used to test medical diagnostic imaging tools.   

The article provides a clear methodology on how the authors produced the phantom including details as to how other researchers within the medical 3D printing community could benefit from this work. The paper drills down into how the team created the designs using both CT and MRI scan data as well as how they selected 3D printable materials to closely mimic their tissue counterparts. 

In addition to this, the authors have provided a critical overview to their discussion which summarizes the advantages and limitations of utilizing 3D printing to create phantoms. 

This article stood out to me as I believe that 3D printing will play an important role in the future, producing not only phantoms but also surgical guides to test novel treatments.  

Commenting on this research exclusively for 3DMedNet, corresponding author, Tamer Ibrahim (University of Pittsburgh; PA, USA), wrote:

“The use of 3D printed anthropomorphic phantom heads has been
growing in our research projects over the last 5 years.  In the RF Research Facility at University of Pittsburgh,
we use a whole-body 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imager (7T MRI), which is one of
the strongest human MRI devices in the world.  While 7T ultrahigh field
technology is a powerful tool, there are a few setbacks that come with this
type of imaging.  As you move from lower to higher fields, and therefore
higher radiofrequencies, the images produced become less uniform and localized
heating can be more prevalent.  Based on in vivo data, we wanted to
develop an accurate anthropomorphic phantom head using 3D printing to help us
better understand these issues by providing a safer way to test the imaging. We
currently use the 3D printed phantom to analyze, evaluate and calibrate the
MRI systems and instrumentation before testing new protocols on human

>> Find out more in the full article

3. The use of 3D-printed surgical guides and models for sinus lift surgery planning and education

The last decade has seen an impressive push to implement 3D printing techniques into dentistry treatments. The latest research carried out by Adrian Neagu (University of Medicine & Pharmacy TimiÅŸoara, Romania) and his team looks at the potential benefits of using 3D printed surgical guides to plan sinus lift surgery. To create the surgical guide, the team utilized data from CT scans of the patient’s maxilla to 3D print an anatomical model, which was in the training of surgeons for maxillofacial surgery.

Speaking exclusively to 3DMedNet, Adrian Neagu commented:

“Our work looks into the educational benefits of 3D printing. Based on medical imaging, a variety of software can be used to create a digital model and print a replica of a specific patient’s anatomy. Such a physical model enables one to practice free hand surgery. For training in guided surgery, one can fabricate surgical templates via digital planning and 3D printing. While our work is just an example of how to create realistic educational materials, we believe that 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize this field; and this potential is largely unexplored.”  

This research article provides an important insight into the benefits of using surgical models to improve practical skills training for both well-established and novice surgeons. I believe that this article demonstrates a prime example of how 3D printing is improving preparation for surgical interventions and further shaping the future of surgical care.

>> Find out more in the full article

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Finally, it is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you I am leaving the Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine for pastures new. I have had a great time working with the Editorial Board as well as all contributing authors and I look forward to watching the journal (and the field) progress in the future.  

If you are interested in finding out more about submitting to the Journal of 3D Printing in Medicine, please feel free to email the new Commissioning Editor, Daniel Barrett at [email protected]. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy this issue and I wish you all the best for the future!