Planmeca Oy, a privately owned high-tech dental equipment maker, uses Z Corporation 3D printing technology to transform maxillofacial surgery, leading to shorter procedures, reduced hospital stays, lower health-care costs and improved patient outcomes. The Finnish company provides specialists around the world with detailed multicolor 3D physical models for pre-operative planning. Surgeons can practice removing tumors and precisely fit plates and screws on the accurate 3D models.
Surgeons report to Planmeca that having 3D physical models can save as much as two hours from difficult procedures, two days from an intensive care stay, and 10% of the operations’ cost. The company prints hundreds of models every year.
“X-rays provide a lot of critical information, but for complex procedures, a 3D physical model can make a world of difference,” said Jukka Kanerva, Product Manager for Planmeca. “As the surgeon can familiarize themselves with the anatomy beforehand, the patients spend less time under anesthesia, less time with open tissue, less time in the hospital afterward, and less time undergoing remedial procedures.”
Planmeca ProModel service employs a ZPrinter® 450 multicolor 3D printer. The process starts in the dental office or hospital. Doctors X-ray the patient, typically with a Planmeca ProMax 3D machine, then use an electronic form in the Planmeca Romexis imaging software to send the data electronically to Planmeca headquarters in Helsinki. Planmeca ProModel professionals use Z Corporation’s ZEdit™ Pro software to color-code tumors, nerves, and existing dental hardware. In less than 24 hours, the model is finished and shipped to the doctor.
Planmeca ProModel’s 3D printer produces physical skull and jaw models from 3D data much as document printers produce business letters from digital text. Planmeca chose a ZPrinter because it can simultaneously print in multiple colors. Multicolor 3D printing capability enables Planmeca to not only spotlight critical areas on skulls, jaws, and teeth, but also to annotate models with text labels.