John Brennan at the Dublin Institute of Technology wrote his Master’s thesis on the “Production of Anatomical Models from CT Scan Data” (PDF). It is an amazing document for anyone interested in cutting applications of 3D Printers and Rapid Prototyping technology.
The document covers all current applications of rapid prototyping to the medical sphere including tissue scaffolding, the creation of orthopedic and dental implants, pre-surgery modeling, and jigs and fixtures for surgical procedures (e.g. if a drill needs to pierce the skull at an exact angle, you can build a fixture to ensure accuracy).
Overall it is a fascinating read and well worth a skim if only to familiarize yourself with the broad strokes. Data that was once only used as a method of diagnosis:
Can now be fed directly in a machine to provide a treatment:
Exciting times indeed!
If you want to get deeper into this application of 3D Printing there is a very cool looking conference, the Medical Prototyping Conference happening September 7-8th in Minneapolis.