There's a saying among surgeons that states, "Whoever learns anatomy only from books, should only operate on books."

Stratasys Asia Pacific has teamed up with the University of Malaya's Center for Biomedical and Technology Integration (CBMTI) to offer 3D printed, multi-material biomodels for simulating endoscopic neurosurgical procedures.

The new models could change the surgical planning and training landscape.

"Creating custom biomodels used to be an extensive and painstaking process," Yuwaraj CBMTI Operations Manager Kumar Balakrishnan said. "To closely mimic human organs, the process can sometimes take up to a few weeks, which proved to be a slow and costly method.

"Stratasys 3D printers are the ideal platform for innovation," Balakrishnan continued. "We have gone from being only able to mold titanium plates for cranial implants to being able to create biomodels with pathology from actual patient imaging data... endoscopic neurosurgical procedures are simulated as closely as possible with these 3D printed models. This is a major breakthrough from both research and training perspectives."

Stratasys is one of the industry's leading 3D printer manufacturers and suppliers.

CBMTI specializes in creating custom biomodels for training and research. The adoption of the multi-material Stratasys Objet Connex 500 and Objet Eden 350 3D printers allowed production of models which feature different textures and densities over the surface and throughout the interior, simulating human body parts accurately, efficiently and cost-effectively.

The process begins with data from CT and MRI scans being converted to a printable format. The 3D printers then use the data to build physical models that are accurate spatially and anatomically.

CBMTI has increased its production capacity by 40 percent with Stratasys' 3D printers.

In addition to lifelike realism, the process of fabricating end-use products directly from imaging data allows scaled-down versions of its models for quick testing, conserving materials when full size is not required.

"At Stratasys, we aim to offer cutting-edge technologies assisting industries to innovate by opening the door to endless possibilities," Jonathan Jaglom, general manager of Asia Pacific & Japan at Stratasys said. "I am honored that Stratasys is able to play a role in contributing and shaping the healthcare & bio-modeling industry."