New partnership helps Clarkson College expand 3D printing ability, education

Omaha's Clarkson College is working to bring new technology to healthcare with 3D printing.
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 10:15 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha’s Clarkson College is fluent in the world of 3D printing.

“3D printing actually can be used in several ways,” said Blair Kauzlarch. “Just about anything you can think of.”

Kauzlarich is the administrator for the school’s 3D Printing and Training Center of Excellence, working with hospitals and physicians of all subspecialties to help provide them with a personalized healthcare experience using 3D-printed tools.

Kauzlarich is also an educator and is in charge of the 3D printing certificate program.

“Ultimately my background and love is for pediatric cardiology, and it was there that I found the love of 3D imaging and using it to its full potential,” Kauzlarich said. “Whether it’s helping a surgeon see something different that they haven’t seen on scans of the patient’s anatomy to even educating the patient’s family.”

Until recently, the school’s 3D printing program could produce mostly educational tools; turning CT or MRI scans into tangible objects.

“To just help the patient better understand a diagnosis and relay that back with their physician and get on the same page as far as what going to happen to them and what their path of treatment plan is,” she said.

However, a new partnership with 3D Systems, a 3D printing medical device manufacturing organization, grants Clarkson FDA approval, meaning they can expand their printing ability.

In simple terms, Clarkson can now print devices that can touch and go into a person’s body and can print devices and tools to help doctors plan and execute surgeries.

Kauzlarich shows an example of a 3D-printed skull, that has a variety of colors.

“This is a surgical planning model so it’s mapped in thick and thin bone, so the surgeons can actually see where it’s safe to place screws, where it’s not for hardware because maybe its too thin, too thick.”

The partnership means Clarkson College can have devices printed at the 3D Systems co-location in Littleton, Colorado, allowing them to not rely solely on the printers on-site.

It also means their certificate program can be expanded outside their network for more future 3D printing professionals to take part in through 3D Systems.

Kauzlarich said the partnership is all about collaboration, and the 3D lab won’t just benefit Clarkson College, but the whole community.

Clarkson works with other healthcare facilities in Omaha and beyond, providing devices and 3D mapping for doctors and surgeons across the area, even some veterinary clinics, too.

They can help almost any patient who reaches out.

“Any patient could come to us and say ‘I just need to better understand my diagnosis,’ maybe it’s a tumor and they don’t understand where it is located,” Kauzlarich said. “We can easily create an education model, whether it’s a virtual model on their device or we can print them something with color to better help them understand the anatomy and what they’re going to be going through.”

You can view the full release on the partnership between Clarkson College and 3D Systems here.