3D Systems has announced the release of "Bespoke Modeling" a cloud-based application that lets doctors create 3D printable anatomical models from CT scans of their patients. "Bespoke Modeling makes it easy to view patient-specific 3D data, bookmark views, add annotations, explore specific anatomical structures and then order color 3D cloud printed models or print on-site. 3D-printed models can also be used in a teaching environment mimicking realistic, bone-like properties when sawed and drilled," 3D Systems said in their press release.

These types of 3D printed surgical models are already being used to help surgeons practice complex surgeries prior to entering the operating room, but so far the technology has been limited to hospitals which have the equipment and programs on hand. Now that Bespoke Modeling is available, facilities without 3D printers can create models online and order prints directly from 3D Systems. The printing material is so similar to bone that it may even become a way of giving surgeons real world experience before they ever touch a patient. "The sensory feedback experienced using Bespoke Modeling 3D prints is nearly identical to operating on a real bone," says Dr. Bernard Cannas, founder of Sapo Implant, a physician training company that tested Bespoke Modeling for its implantology courses. "We can now use many more models during our training course providing greater hands-on training than we ever could with cadaver bone."

Bespoke Modeling is compatible with Chrome, Safari, Windows Explorer and Firefox. It also works on the iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. Subscriptions to the service start at $30 per month. You can take a look at a video describing the process here: