Printing in 3D Gets Practical

Military surgeons, architects, and others are creating models with 3D printers, and prices are falling: Sub-$10,000 printers are on the way

Walter Reed Army Medical Center surgeons who treat soldiers wounded in the war in Iraq have grown accustomed to difficult operations. But some are more delicate than others. Take the patient who needed a bony tumor removed from the back of the knee. The growth was situated precariously near a nerve and an artery junction, leaving doctors no room for error. The orthopedic surgeon was able to try the procedure first using a model of the knee, helping him avoid hitting the nerve or artery during the actual surgery.

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