Digital medicine, as a product of the combination of digital technology and medicine, has been developing rapidly in recent years. Digital 3D printing technology has developed rapidly in recent years and has gradually developed into a pillar technology of the third technological revolution, which is widely used in the military, precision instrument manufacturing and biomedicine and other fields, and is gradually changing people’s lives. According to the data related to 3D printing project investment in the first half of 2016, its investment in biomedicine has increased significantly, and the related technology has a wide range of application prospects in the medical industry.
Theoretical basis of digital 3D printing technology
3D printing is an advanced additive manufacturing technology, a type of rapid prototyping technology that uses digital model files as a basis to construct objects by printing layer by layer using bondable materials such as powdered metals or plastics. It works in the same way as an ordinary printer, with the printer containing liquid or powder “printing materials”, which are connected to a computer and controlled by the computer to superimpose the “printing materials” layer by layer, eventually turning the blueprint on the computer into a physical object. 3D printing There are three main working principles of 3D printing technology, namely, fusion deposition (FDM), stereolithography (SLA) and laser melting (SLM).
Digital 3D printing technology in medicine
In the field of digital medicine, 3D printing technology has shown many advantages and bright application prospects. It is mainly applied in the fields of printing medical models, making surgical guides, medical titanium implants to repair maxillofacial defects, printing new repair materials, and combining with biological tissue engineering to repair organs and tissue defects. Its value is to achieve precise treatment, improve the efficiency of doctor-patient communication, and realize the exercise and training of young physicians. Direct printing of prostheses, skin, model scaffolds (especially dental models), orthodontic devices, etc. has led to continuous clinical and research efforts. First, the use of 3D printing technology to manufacture metal prosthetic implants has been widely used, but the design optimization and manufacturing of prosthetics has to be studied in depth. Second, the manufacture of biologically active tissues and organs. Currently, the soft translucent heart manufactured using 3D printing technology, with the lesion area clearly visible, can reproduce the relative position of the lesion space 1:1, is made of silicon-like material, elastic and can be cut.
The hard heart model made by 3D printing technology has the atrioventricular structure of the heart and can completely show the complex shape and internal chambers of the heart, which can be used for teaching and display. The soft transparent liver made by 3D printing technology, the cancerous area and blood vessels are clearly visible, the relative position of the disease area space is reproduced 1:1, it is made of silicon-like material, elastic and cuttable. soft transparent kidney made by 3D printing technology, the kidney calyces and kidney stones are clearly visible, it is made of silicon-like material, elastic and cuttable. Digital 3D printing technology has also been widely used in the field of dentistry, such as the ability to create a variety of complex personalized restorations and print personalized prostheses as required by doctors.
In 2012, Figliuzzi et al. completed immediate implantation using implants made by 3D printing. In maxillofacial surgery, the initial applications were mainly prototyping and model surgery, which led to the design and production of personalized restorations. 1:1 accurate models allow the surgeon to visualize the lesion prior to surgery, perform precise surgical planning, and assist in the design and manufacture of personalized restorations, thus making the surgery easy to perform, shortening the surgery time, and restoring the patient’s appearance and function more ideally. In June 2011, the world’s first personalized full mandible graft made by 3D printing technology successfully restored the patient’s speech and eating ability. Digital 3D printing technology will have a profound impact on medicine.
Application of Digital 3D Printing Technology in OSAHS Treatment
Digital 3D printing technology has been widely used in all stages of OSAHS treatment surgery. In developed countries in Europe and the United States, the role of digital 3D printing technology in OSAHS treatment has been widely recognized by the academic community, and has achieved good results in clinical treatment. In China, 3D printing technology has been initially applied with remarkable results. When evaluating the condition, doctors understand the soft and hard tissue deformities of the maxillofacial area based on the models obtained by digital 3D printing technology, so that they can accurately determine the site of obstruction. Digital 3D printing technology can perform simulation of the entire surgical process, helping doctors to predict the difficulty of surgery, adjust the surgical plan and make surgical predictions. Digital 3D printing technology has an important potential to guide during surgery. Guides and templates made by 3D technology can help confirm the position of the osteotomy and ultimately achieve precise surgery.
Currently, digital 3D printing technology is used in the surgical treatment of OSAHS in the following aspects; (1) preoperative assessment of 3D airway status; (2) simulation of the surgical procedure to optimize the surgical design plan; (3) production of personalized retractors; (4) printing of intraoperative osteotomy guides and production of personalized fixed titanium plates, thus improving surgical precision and saving surgical time; (5) prediction of postoperative airway improvement In OSAHS patients, there is a group of small jaw deformity with temporomandibular joint ankylosis, for which it is particularly difficult to simulate and design surgery because of the inability to open the mouth to take dental molds and perform model surgery. Digital 3D printing technology can easily solve these problems. Using 3D printing technology, jaw bone models can be created to simulate surgery. Computer software is used to design and simulate the surgical plan, allowing for bone block movement and occlusal alignment. Combined with 3D printing to create surgical guides, the computer simulation of surgery can be accurately transferred to the actual surgery, improving the efficiency and accuracy of surgery.
Digital 3D printing technology is widely used in the treatment of OSAHS. Its characteristics dictate that the key to its application in the treatment of OSAHS lies in the close cooperation between physicians and engineers. Physicians need the assistance of engineers to realize the maximum advantages of digital 3D printing technology, and engineers’ full understanding of the surgical plan designed by physicians is crucial for the digital technology to take maximum advantage. In the design phase, the surgeon needs to design the surgery based on the patient’s CT or MRI data, and at the same time, should communicate effectively with the engineer. Then based on the surgical plan, engineers apply digital technology to complete the doctor’s vision, simulate the surgical procedure, and apply 3D printing technology to print out the medical model. The physician evaluates the finished product and suggests adjustments in the subsequent clinical application phase to complete the design vision intraoperatively. The key to the application of digital 3D printing technology in OSAHS lies in the medical-industrial combination. A deep understanding of the characteristics of digital 3D printing technology, the selection of appropriate indications, coupled with a good medical-industrial combination are the prerequisites for the maximum effect of digital technology in the treatment of OSAHS. In the context of the current era of progress and rapid development of science and technology, digital 3D printing technology has a strong vitality and has a wide application prospect in the treatment of OSAHS and the whole medical field.
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