3D Technologies Program

Improving Medical Outcomes, Training and Patient Care With 3D Technologies at BC Children’s Hospital


BC Children’s Hospital 

The Digital Lab

Type of work

3D Printing

3D Technologies Support Patients and Healthcare Workers

In order to understand patient anatomy, healthcare workers often analyze medical scans such as those generated by computed tomography (CT) scans. These medical images do not show the full details of each patient's unique anatomy. The Digital Lab has utilized 3D technologies to generate virtual models of patients anatomy for improved visualizations. Further, with BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) acquiring the first pediatric 3D printer in Western Canada, the Digital Lab has begun to investigate printing patient-specific anatomical models and medical devices. These models could allow for improved medical education, refined surgical planning and improved patient knowledge, all of which should improve patient experiences and outcomes at BCCH.

Research & Design

Deployment of 3D Technologies at BC Children’s Hospital

The Digital Lab launched the 3D Technologies Program at BC Children’s Hospital in 2019. As surgical training and patient care is highly personalized the Digital Lab saw the opportunity to leverage 3D technologies to optimize education and patient health outcomes.

The 3D Technologies Program at the Digital Lab has produced 3D models for various projects including models for:

  • Individual patients
  • Clinical training opportunities
  • Preparing surgical teams for complex operations
  • Familiarizing medical students and families with medical conditions

With 3D technologies the Digital Lab can prepare virtual or 3D-printed models of each patient's unique anatomy for their clinical care teams. These models increase the accuracy and confidence of clinical teams when planning medical procedures and can be used to support patients and their families as educational tools. The unique nature of pediatric patients all being at different stages of life is easily addressed with the personalized nature of the 3D Technologies Program.

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3D Technologies Improve Education & Patient Outcomes

The Digital Lab’s 3D Technologies Program has been utilized regularly at BC Children’s Hospital. Surgeons commonly utilize the 3D models and virtualized models to better assess unique patient anatomy and develop effective surgical plans. This has improved the clinical team's understanding of the patients that they are treating. Furthermore, these models have allowed for improved surgical education, allowing technique to be practiced outside of the operating room. Currently, the Digital Lab aims to expand the 3D Technologies Program across BC Children’s Hospital’s different departments to continue to improve health and educational outcomes.