Disrupting Medical Education and Surgical Procedures with 3D Printing
Med Dimensions produces 3D models for the education, preparation, and assistance of surgical procedures for veterinary doctors, clinicians, and teachers.
Located near Rochester, New York, Med Dimensions is a small startup created by two pet-loving engineers, Sean Bellefeuille and Will Byron, from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2019. Started as a campus club that was dedicated to 3D printing and helping others, Med Dimensions is a team that consists of professional designers, engineers, and business specialists that strive to find ways to improve the lives of surgeons, pets, and pet owners.
Focused primarily on veterinary medicine, the Med Dimensions team produces three-dimensional models for the education, preparation, and assistance in surgical procedures for veterinary doctors, clinicians, and teachers.
The first focus of Med Dimensions, education, is geared toward creating models for the classroom to instruct a new generation of vets to be more prepared for common, and uncommon, surgical procedures. Vet students are sometimes deprived of hands-on training in many facets of a typical practice. Med Dimensions takes real anatomy and pathology and transforms it into a three-dimensional model for any type of procedure in any specialty, providing vital hands-on models for everything from bronchoscopies, intubations, suturing pads, dental trainers, and more.
Armed with more relevant, real-world models gives a new generation of vet students a leg up on previous classes. Using different materials in the fabrication of their educational models, Med Dimensions is able to replicate the look, feel, and performance of real anatomy. These models can be manipulated to test implant placement, practice techniques, and build confidence to treat animals safely and more effectively.
The second focus is preparation; Med Dimensions can create pre-operative models for specific cases pre-surgery so the veterinarian is able to see and feel what is occurring before surgery Because they use materials that feel and behave like real pathology, pre-operative models can be used for practice or for reference prior to surgery, saving time and money in the operating room. Director of Business Development, Michael Campbell explains, “From the beginning, Med Dimensions started this endeavor to help those involved in the surgery of animals get great outcomes."
"Sometimes it’s simply not enough to see a two-dimensional scan and get all the information you need going into surgery. The best outcomes are served by three-dimensional, real-world scanned and 3D printed models that a surgeon can hold in their hand and not just have an educated guide, but an exact replica of an issue before making a single incision. That’s the kind of power we want to give to the teacher, the clinician, and the surgeon - we want them to be assured that they have the absolute best information about a procedure so they can affect the best outcome possible. We are also sensitive to the fact that having a veterinary practice is a business. Using our models, the clinicians are able to save time on many surgeries, as well as reduce the cost of those surgeries. They also enhance patient outcomes, making many more pet owners happy that their pets are feeling better post-op.”
Their third focus is, of course, performing surgeries. Not only do Med Dimensions create pre-operative models for general and specific surgeries, but they also work with veterinarians to fabricate patient-specific cutting guides and other custom surgical tools that can save time and money for patients and facilities alike. Shaving 20-30 minutes off a procedure, replicated over several procedures a year results in thousands of dollars in savings.
There are also technical advantages these tools can provide. A custom hip arthroplasty cutting guide can make it easier to replicate good cuts and measurements, allowing a surgeon to achieve better and more predictable outcomes in the operating room. In addition, a custom cutting guide can help steer a surgeon away from important structures in a certain area, specifically nerves, and arteries near a joint space.
Med Dimensions also works with the renowned surgeon, Dr. Johnny Uday, a leader in 3D printed guides and implants, to bring custom designs for surgical tools to life. With many years of experience in building custom implants in the human and veterinary fields, he speaks on the use of 3D modeling in the medical field, specializing in custom surgical applications.
From a business standpoint, the engineers and designers at Med Dimensions use their skills to help vet clinicians gain the best outcomes for their patients. As a ‘third arm’ in surgical preparation, Med Dimensions provides a cutting-edge service that up until recently, was almost impossible to do on an individual patient by patient basis.
Michael Campbell explains, “Again we look at scalability and also being extremely agile - previously to get a specific, custom model for a patient would have outpaced the cost of the surgery and the time turnaround was monumental - months on average. There simply were no manufacturing capabilities to quickly turn out an anatomically correct model at this low cost that we see now. The 3D printers, the software, and the materials - not to mention the engineers and designers that implement the process - none of those was within a reasonable cost in the past. Now with fast, in-house additive manufacturing of one-off models for specific patients, as well as using multiple farm printers to create stable educational models, all without the need to keep stock on the shelf or order massive quantities of materials to produce products that may never even be used, we’ve taken a very needed component of veterinary medicine, and soon human medicine, and made it affordable and sustainable."
There are no giant warehouses we need to fill, we create models and custom models as needed and get them out the door. We don’t need shelves full of products for our doctors and clinicians to see more positive outcomes for their patients. That saves them time and money and it saves us time and money - it’s a huge win-win, especially for the animals!”
With the use of 3D printing, Med Dimensions are making huge strides in enabling better outcomes for animal patients and creating an industry where one didn't exist before. By utilizing quick, iterate capabilities of small-scale additive manufacturing, Med Dimensions is bringing better solutions to veterinarians, and soon human surgeons, faster and more affordably than ever before.
To learn more about Med Dimensions and the many services it offers, visit their website here: https://www.med-dimensions.com/
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