A veterinary college is using 3D printing technology to create models students will use to practice surgical skills.
Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM) will incorporate the 3D models into an innovations elective course that will be offered in January 2019.
In the summer of 2018, LMU-CVM acquired two 3D printers–a resin-based 3D printer and a fused deposition modeling printer. Multiple types of materials can be used in the development process. For example, soft resins mimic tissues, while bone colored resins can be used for anatomy. This greatly expands the number of models that LMU is able to develop.
Dr. Jamie Perkins, clinical skills veterinarian for the Center for Innovation in Veterinary Education and Technology (CIVET) at LMU-CVM, is working on incorporating the use of these 3D printers within the LMU-CVM curriculum.
Veterinary colleges are using this type of technology in a variety of ways, such as for in-house production of supplies and equipment, pre-operative and surgical planning, research on prosthetics and bioprinting for tissue and organ production, and creation of educational specimens for teaching.
“The potential to replicate injuries or deformities in animals with 3D printing capabilities is unparalleled,” says Perkins.
“Our students will be entering practices such as specialty surgical centers where they will use 3D printers in their surgical planning,” says LMU-CVM Vice President and Dean Jason Johnson. “Our goal is to prepare competent graduates that are ready to hit the ground running on day one after graduation. Knowledge of this technology will give our students a competitive edge as they enter the workforce.”
The growing popularity and availability of 3D printers means many students have at least a rudimentary understanding of them when they leave high school, giving them the skills they need to use the 3D printers as they progress through postsecondary education.
Industry experts consistently point to the benefits 3D printer knowledge has for students, including:
- Teamwork and collaboration, which can come from determining design and experiencing trial and error
- Skills that accompany 3D printing nicely parallel many degree programs, such as engineering, computer software and design, and biomedical technology
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