Located at the Advanced Surgical Technology and Education Center (ASTEC), within the Department of Surgery on the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, the Advanced 3D Technology Laboratory uses cutting-edge technologies such as 3D printing (3DP) and extended reality (XR) to deliver a variety of 3D services. It is an innovation hub for clinicians, patients, researchers and industry in the greater Washington, DC area.

3D Printing (3DP)

Dr. Li demonstrating 3D models
Dr. Jihui Li presents a 3DP model to Drs. Lucas Collazo, Stephen Jones, and Steve Motew.
3DP is a production process that allows diagnostic images (CT, MRI or ultrasound) to be translated into exact 3D replicas.

With 3D printed anatomic models, surgeons and researchers can plan and rehearse complex surgeries, explain anomalies and procedures to patients, teach residents and medical students, and design innovative implants or instruments.

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Extended Reality (XR)

VR room simulation
XR can create a virtual lab with various instruments and a trainer.

Extended reality (XR) is another level of 3D technology that includes virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR). This technology creates a 3D animation environment in which users can interact with virtual objects or characters.

These immersive technologies can achieve most tasks that 3D printing models can achieve, and have the potential to expand to more applications such as telemedicine and virtual conferences.

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A History of Improving Patient Outcomes

Formerly known as the Biomechanics Research Laboratory, our lab began with a focus on improving patient outcomes through advanced orthopedic research. Using virtual surgery technology to help physicians customize the best treatment solutions, the simulations were like a "test drive" of a surgical procedure before the patient and physician ever entered an operating room.

For example, a surgeon planning to perform a total joint replacement could test a specific implant's performance under stress by simulating the patient's weight and activity level. This customized approach meant even better results for patients and a faster return to normal activities.

Our musculoskeletal biomechanics simulations were applied to a variety of orthopedic conditions including joint replacement, traumatic bone injuries, bone cancer, chronic back and joint pain, and pediatric orthopedic problems.