Rapid prototypes come to the aid of wounded Iraqis

June 16, 2005
Iraqi citizens wounded in terrorist attacks will have a better chance of accurate reconstructive surgery thanks to several companies that manufacture rapidprototyping equipment.

Larger RP machines can process several skull models with trauma at one time.

The RP model is a skull from a gunshot victim.

A screen from Materialise software shows a few sections of a CT scan and a 3D skull model with soft tissue. A portion of the skull has been lost in an accident. An STL file of just the bone can then be sent to an RP machine.

Four companies and one nonprofit organization have formed RP for Baghdad, rp4baghdad.com. The humanitarian effort includes Materialise, a software developer, and equipment builders 3D Systems, Stratasys, and Z-Corp.

An example of their work is a 3D model of a facial and other trauma that shows bone fragments and their locations under soft tissue. The models let surgeons plan procedures and prepare braces and covers, a task that is tough when using only 2D X-rays for guidance. The effort will focus on the most severely injured victims with serious head injuries or missing limbs.

The Iraqi League for Medical Profession provides infrastructure for the service. People with serious injuries will first be CT scanned at a medical facility. The scanned data will be processed using Mimics software from Materialise to generate a 3D model of the anatomy. Then 3D Systems, Stratasys, and Z-Corp. will provide physical models derived from the digital data. Models will go back to surgeons in Iraq who can use the bone replicas to plan and practice surgery. As the project progresses, the plan is to build RP parts for socket construction in artificial limbs.

The founders of RP4Baghdad have teamed with Surgical Implant Generation Network (Sign) to maintain nonprofit status. The humanitarian organization provides training for the repair of broken bones and facial trauma. It will provide a Sign system that trains surgeons to treat fractures in Iraq through the project.


(734) 662-5027,
Stratasys Inc.,

(952) 937-3000,
Surgical Implant Generation Network,

3D Systems,

(805) 295-5600,
Z Corp.,

(781) 852-5007,

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