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Practice changer: 3D printing for consults

Article-Practice changer: 3D printing for consults

Dr. Stern with her life-sized 3D printIt was during her training that plastic surgery resident Carrie Stern, M.D., recognized that the success of an aesthetic operation depends not just on the surgical result but also on meeting the patient’s expectation.

“Simulation is one tool that has helped overcome this obstacle, but it is still limited because seeing a 3D image on 2D computer screen is not ideal,” Dr. Stern says.

To address what she sees as a need in aesthetic surgery, Dr. Stern founded the New York-based company, MirrorMe3D. Essentially, the company uses 3D printing to create 3D images of anticipated surgical improvements. Patients can hold, feel and see the transformation in sculpture-like busts created by 3D printers.

“By adding 3D printing, we can complete this whole process by giving patients a tangible model to hold. We believe we are improving the patient experience. We also recognize the value for surgeons…. Rather than showing patients some photo books of similar cases they have done, using 3D prints they can display results in the office,” Dr. Stern says.

Dr. Stern tells Cosmetic Surgery Times that cosmetic and plastic surgeons would use MirrorMe3D for doctors’ office displays, to market practices and create a virtual patient experience. Dr. Stern says creating the 3D images is most useful for rhinoplasty and breast augmentation, but they’ve had interest in using the service for buttock augmentation and body contouring, too.

How to Offer Your Patients 3D Printing


How to Offer Your Patients 3D Printing

MirrorMe3D has a joint venture with Crisalix, which offers a one-click system for simple web-based printing. The partnership allows physicians to print from any standard camera system, according to Dr. Stern.

“Doctors would ideally need to have a capture system of some type (standard 3D camera or Crisalix scanner) to print. However, if doctors do not have a capture system, we can still 3D print for them faces and breasts only by uploading standard 2D images,” she says.

The resulting three-dimensional images cost from $60 to $300. And prints can be sent to surgeons or patients, generally within a week, she says.

“The distinguishing part of our technology is that [these] are a high-quality prints…,” she says. “For the smaller prints, it can be bundled into the cost of a consult or surgical fee. The more expensive and larger prints are almost like real sculptures for office displays. We believe that having 3D prints for your patients does increase conversion to surgery, therefore, making it a very worthwhile investment.”

The company also sells standard displays, which physicians can use as educational tools, according to Dr. Stern.

“We now have a standard rhinoplasty display, which includes three different typical rhinoplasty examples,” she says. “In addition, our breast augmentation display shows patients the subtle changes when using different implant sizes, [as well as] shape (round implant compared to anatomic implant).”

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