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Expanding 3D Printing Network Aims to Improve U.S. Veterans' Healthcare


Using three-dimensional printing to create a replacement heart.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continues to expand its national integrated virtual three-dimensional (3D) printing network, which enables healthcare staff to exchange ideas, solve problems, and pool resources on best-practice 3D printing applications to improve veterans' care.

Credit: Getty

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expanded its national integrated virtual three-dimensional (3D) printing network from three hospitals in early 2017 to 20 at the end of last year.

The network enables VA healthcare staff to exchange ideas, solve problems, and pool resources on best-practice 3D printing applications to improve veterans' care.

The Veterans Health Administration said innovators at those 20 sites are using 3D printing to solve a wide range of issues, “from presurgical planning to manufacturing hand and foot orthotics."

VA radiologists said they will be able to make use of GE Healthcare’s advanced visualization workstations with 3D printing software provided by GE Healthcare "to produce models of normal and pathological anatomy using automation techniques that will speed up the pre-3D printing preparation work and the diagnostic process."

The VA said scientists also are "working with collaborators to create a bioprinting program that uses 3D printing to fabricate replacement tissues that are customized to an individual patient."

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