Phoenix researchers leading the way in using 3D printers for spine surgeries

3D printers are revolutionizing the way surgeons perform surgery, and here in Phoenix, surgeons and researchers with the Barrow Neurological Institute are leading the way in this new technology.

Surgeons say there is never a place to practice a risky surgery outside of the operating room, meaning, when the surgery is happening there is no room for error, but that is finally changing thanks to 3D printers. 

Researchers from the Barrow Neurological Institute started exploring the new platform. 

"What makes our 3D printing tech unique is we have devised a new method for taking medical imaging to not only anatomically realistically models but biomechanically realistic," said Dr. Michael Bohl. 

They can print out a 3D spine and use it to practice before going into a risky surgery. 

"For long procedures or high-risk procedures you can get to the operating room fully rehearsed confident that we have the best plan," said Dr. Bohl. 

The surgeons can print as many as they need, also making it easier to communicate their plans to their patient. 

"We have a better replica of the patients' analogy so when we talk to them about what the problem is and solution it is easier to have that conversation," said Dr. Bohl. 

Researchers say while 3D printing has been received well byother surgeons there is still not enough research into simulation and training, and they hope to change that.