Re: Skull Model Update

From: Timothy J. Gornet (
Date: Mon Jan 20 1997 - 01:19:18 EET

Dr. Steve Schmitt at Lackland Air Force Base has given presentations on this
subject more than several times. The last was at Georgia Tech's RP conference
last year. He has numerous cases of utilizing RP in the dental prosthodontics
as well as for pre-surgery planning. In particular an ideal case was one of
conjoined "Siamese" twins where the two children shared a leg. A RP model was
made so that the doctors could plan the surgery so that each child could have a
protion of a femur remaining for future prostheses. He also has done work in the
areas of trauma, accidents and war injuries, as well as birth defects.

I believe that he also has some quantitative numbers in the area of costs/
benefits with respect to operative time saved etc..

I do not know if he monitors this list or not, but I believe that he is by
far the most advanced user of RP in the medical field. His email is . Hoepfully he will chime in with some of his

We are also one of those schools that uses an SLS quite a bit in the
engineering school, but can't seem to get the medical school folks involved.
I recently gave a presentation to our Dept. of Surgery, with plenty of Dr.
Schmitt's slides to show them real applications of the technology. We had been
trying for a couple of years to get them jump started, but this seemed to do
it for them. Many times it is just getting the interest of the right person with
the right applications. There are still MANY businesses that have never heard
of rapid prototyping. Hard to believe but true. Terry Wohlers might know the
numbers offhand as far as the penetration of solid modelers into engineering,
but it is still not as large as those of us that are around RP all the time
would believe. I bet the RP equipment manufacturers wish it was higher as well.

Many of the medical device (medical packaging, implants, prostheses, etc..)
use RP extensively, but it is still vary rare for the surgeons, ENTs, etc..
to know anything of RP or modeling. Only in the last several years have good
softwares that can manipulate the MRI/CT scans into smooth data for RP from the
more coarse MRI/CT scan thicknesses. Materialise has some good tools to inter-
polate in between the layers. I think there are alot of possibilities in the
medical arena and there is more work going on than we see on the rp-ml list.

You really have to gain an internal champion in the medical school to take
hold of the RP and make it work. Medical schools also have a tendency to have
a very NIH attitude for things as well.

Good luck to Steve and the others involved. Hopefully the possible publicity
will kick start some others in the medical arena to champion the use of RP.


> Steve Deak wrote:
> > All this in a couple of days. Now the real work begins. Lets hope this
> > is successful. We welcome any and all additional assistance in this
> > effort.
> Steve - What you, Jim Rollins, and others are doing is really neat. I'd
> like to offer my help. An idea is to initiate a story for publication in
> an industry trade publication. It would help educate insurance companies
> and others who could help streamline reconstructive surgeries for accident
> victoms and those with birth defects. If you or others feel that this is
> worth pursuing, I'll run it by a couple of editor friends. Let me know.
> Terry Wohlers
> Wohlers Associates, Inc.

Tim Gornet		   	Computer Aided Engineering Consultant
SLUGNET:   Vogt Bldg. Rm 101, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292
PHONENET:  (502)852-0714 	FAXNET: (502)852-8890

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