We’re used to stories where companies save considerable time and money with 3D printed prototyping. But a medical device company that’s using rapid prototyping to improve surgical outcome – that deserves an even closer examination.
During certain invasive surgeries, a patient often needs many units of blood throughout the operation. But donated blood is often in short supply. And what about the risk of post-operative complications or tainted blood?
A process for “autotransfusion,” where the patient’s own blood is returned to the body, requires a machine to collect and prepare the blood cells for re-use. The Hemosep machine, developed by BrightWake Ltd., offers a method to save and recycle surgical blood in the operating room.
Medical Device Prototyping Costs Slashed by 96% and Lead-Times Eliminated Thanks to In-house Production
The Hemosep includes many parts, and prototyping them on a Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D Printer allowed the design team at Brightwake to quickly make iterative changes (instead of waiting weeks for replacements) and adapt the machine to the stressful environment of the operating room.
“The production of medical devices demands extremely accurate parts, capable of enduring the stress of functional and safety tests,” said Steve Cotton, Brightwake’s Director of Research and Development. “Previously we had to outsource the production of these parts which took around three weeks per part. Now we’re 3D printing superior strength parts overnight, cutting our prototyping costs by 96% and saving more than £1,000 for each 3D printed model.”
The Hemosep parts were prototyped in sturdy ABS plastic using Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printing technology for testing before the final product was produced in metal.
Successful UK Trial Upholds Patient’s Religious Beliefs
After successful clinical trials in Turkey and earning the CE mark, the Hemosep is continuing being clinical tested in the UK. In fact, one of the first patients to benefit from the new Hemosep device is 50-year-old heart patient Julie Penoyer, who, as a Jehovah’s Witness, requested not to receive donated blood products. Because the device captures, cleans and puts back lost blood lost during an operation, Hemosep was the perfect solution for her.
So keep watching for new 3D printing innovations in the medical field! Who knows what the next life-saving device will be?