• 3D printed anatomy. Photo credit: Monash University3D printed anatomy. Photo credit: Monash University

Monash University design 3D printed anatomy model

A unique kit of 3D printed anatomical body parts has been developed by Monash University scientists and is now available for medical students to use worldwide.

For centuries, medical students have used preserved cadavers to learn anatomy as part of their preparation for dealing with patients, but plastinated bodies can be difficult and expensive to commission in many countries.  This new kit is the first commercially available resource of its kind - an anatomically correct model that contains no human tissue, yet does however contain representative regions of the body such as limbs, chest, abdomen, head and neck - all that would be needed to teach human anatomy.

The team from Monash announced their 3D Printed Anatomy Series last year, but have recently signed a deal with German anatomical model makers, Erler-Zimmer, which means that anyone, anywhere will be able to buy anatomically correct, plastic 3D prints of a leg, arm or a full body – online, with delivery within weeks at a fraction of the cost of an embalmed or plastinated body.

The series also includes 3D models of some parts of the body that would be impossible to visualise even in an embalmed body, such as a 3D print of the vasculature of the brain based on a CT scan.

Professor Paul McMenamin, Director of the University’s Centre for Human Anatomy Education, said the 3D prints of the entire human body had been created using the skills of the team at the Centre, using technologies such as laser hand-held scanners, MRI imaging and CT scans.  He said: “We believe our kit will revolutionise learning for medical students by enabling them to look inside the body and see the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. At the moment it can be incredibly hard for students to understand the three dimensional form of human anatomy, and we believe this kit will make a huge difference – a sort of 3D textbook if you like."

The simple and cost-effective anatomical kit could dramatically improve trainee doctors' and other health professionals' knowledge and even contribute to the development of better surgical outcomes for patients, so medical students – you can expect to see one at your university soon!

Find out more about studying at Monash University here, or find out more about studying medicine programmes in Australia here. Contact Study Options to talk to a student advisor.

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