3d printers

Helping doctors communicate with patients

Tampa General Hospital has many specialties, but some special technologies in a lab stand out all over the world.

“These are the same tools we use to make movies and video games, but we apply them to human medicine,” explained Dr. Summer Decker.

Early in the pandemic, Decker and his colleagues invented nasal swabs made with their 3D printers. They are now used in 56 countries.

“Once we found a solution and showed it worked, we were compelled to share it with the world and we did,” Decker continued.

A 3D printed model of a heart, illustrating a flaw.

New printers are even better. They start with a normal CT scan and then use the 3D printer to create an exact model of an organ.

“Explaining to a patient that they have a heart abnormality is one thing, but when you can get an exact replica of their heart and show them the abnormality, I think it helps to better understand the patient’s problem,” offered Dr. Krishna Nallamshetty.

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The lab is one of the few in the country to have this technology. USF Health-Tampa General Hospital started when it was new 10 years ago. They are now seeing doctors across the country.

Dr. Krishna Nallamshetty explains the benefits of 3D printed organ model.

Next year, administrators plan to move the lab to a larger, more visible area of ​​the hospital to better see doctors and patients. They say we only see the beginning.

“The next thing we’re going to look at is bioprinting where you can actually print organs or parts of organs and use them on patients,” Decker said.

She predicts that the lab that sent nasal swabs around the world will continue to lead the way in 3D printer technology.