It’s startling. You turn a corner in a laboratory, and there’s a table full of human aortas. Twisted. Aneurytic. Swollen to the verge of bursting.
These aren’t real aortas, but startlingly detailed models of actual diseased aortas, created on a 3-D printer from data acquired by CT scans. Across the from the table, the printer itself hums softly as its sprayer moves back and forth across a small platform, slowly building a new plastic model: this time of an actual human heart.
3-D printing has emerged as a remarkable new tool for physicians and researchers in the battle against disease and injury.