In the near future soldiers will be scanned before going into military actions. Their scanned copies will be saved online so as to 3D print new bones for them in case they are badly injured. Such a technology can be used to scan and “copy” healthy people to develop a 3D image, which can later be compared with the scans made after the injury.
Scientists could make scans of servicemen before they went into battlefield. The virtual copy could be saved online. If they get injured, they could have new bones 3D printed.
Experts from Nevada University are discussing with the US armed forces the opportunity of creating records of “virtual” servicemen that the military surgeons could use. Virtual operating tables have already become popular with scientists. Medical students widely use them to study human body anatomy and practice dissections. The table work in the following way: they take MRI’s, ultrasounds and x-rays to develop an accurate copy of the human body, so that young doctors could study every detail of the body.
Experts suggest that such a technology could be beneficial to create accurate limbs for the wounded, as the exact sizes of the limbs will be saved in the detailed 3D image.
Director of Advanced Education Program in Orthodontics at the University of Nevada Dr James Mah during his speech in San Jose, California, mentioned that they were already discussing the possibility of bringing their new technology to the battlefield. The concept consists in imaging a person in a healthy state and making the images available later.
There are a number of soldiers who are badly injured, who have lost their limbs, which are sometimes difficult to reconstruct. So if they create the image in advance, they would be able to 3D print, for instance, a femur, and replace the damaged one. This method will make surgical repairs in the field quicker and easier. Such a technique is also likely to help veterans and casualties. The technology means a lot for the soldiers, who lose their limbs, as it will help produce a virtual replica of their bodies, which will help surgeons reproduce an exact copy of the injured parts or implant them directly.
Scientists have already reproduced 3D printed jawbones of titanium powder. It is spongy, so new bones can grow into the wholes.
The table for virtual autopsy was produced by the US Company Anatomage. It is almost the size of the front door and has a large screen that shows a life-size body. The image can be operated on in three dimensions. You can use a swipe of finger to slice the tissue, whereas ribs, muscle and skin can be stripped away to ease the access to internal organs. Some areas can be zoomed in for better view and more precise study. The software can use the data of the real patients. Scientists often call it “a reusable cadaver”. Currently it can contain the data of almost 1,000 patients. As for Dr Mah, he considers that the main benefit is the ability to study the areas that are difficult to reach through the body.
Before such a table teaching hospitals had to use only the donated bodies to give students a chance to investigate the human bodies. But over the past 20 years donations have considerably decreased.
Also you may be interested in TED’s video about Anatomage table.