In 2014, the Craniofacial Surgery Group in the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine applied for funding to purchase a high-end 3D printer for medical modeling and pre-surgical planning. Installation of the Stratasys Eden 260VS followed in the Spring 2015. Almost immediately the craniofacial surgeons used the high-resolution models for surgical planning. The models allowed for better preoperative preparation and operative precision that reduced OR time. Word of the printing facility spread and now physicians and researchers from multiple disciplines take advantage of the service.
On a parallel track, cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons at the St. Louis Children’s and Washington University Heart Center have been utilizing 3D printing since 2015. Over the past few years, utilization of 3D printing expanded from congenital heart disease in children to vascular disorders, then to adults with congenital and structural heart disorders. The models have been used to plan complex, high-risk cases, in trainee education and research projects and for patient and family counseling.
In 2016, 3D print experts from the departments of pediatrics, surgery and radiology united to create a center for 3D printing at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Through a generous donors to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation and support from Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the Medical 3D Printing Center was established in January 2018.