THI Explores Advanced 3D Printed Silicone Technologies

On Friday April 13, the THI Cardiovascular Surgery Research department hosted a special presentation by Dr. Haibo “Patrick” Gong about medical 3D printing technology innovation and personalized medical product development. Dr. Gong shared exciting updates on the fabrication of 3D silicone models to simulate the human cardiovascular system by using advanced 3D printing technology, and the applications of the models for surgical bootcamps.

“We currently use rigid plastic pipes to create mock loops to replicate the cardiovascular system physiology. This technology will enable us to create mock loops that replicate both the anatomy and physiology,” according to Dr. Yaxin Wang.

Many THI professional staff members and researchers across the Institute’s various departments met with Dr. Gong throughout the following week to learn more about this evolving technology and how it could potentially support our research and education needs. Demos of anatomically correct 3D printed silicone heart models inspired a wide range of ideas for future collaborations, including the use of 3D printed valves for heart simulation surgeries by THI teaching staff, residents and fellows in training.

Dr. Alex Smith, a THI research engineer, is enthusiastic about the potential of the novel 3D technology. “Researching implantable heart assist devices while using rigid engineering materials has limitations that these elastic, silicone models overcome,” said Dr. Smith.

We look forward to building our partnership with Dr. Gong using this advanced 3D printing technology and to his next visit to Texas.

Thank you to Yaxin Wang, PhD and Alex Smith, PhD for coordinating this exciting visit.