How to Use 3D Scanning in the Medical Industry

By Juan Carlos Gandiaga on

3D scanning is growing in popularity, becoming incorporated in every vertical from Engineering and Design, to Architecture and Science, to Sculpture reconstruction and Healthcare. This technology is nimble, showing off its speed for reverse engineering, data acquisition and communication. Many industries are benefiting from 3D scanning applications  particularly the Medical Industry.

Here is how 3D scanning can be used in the following medical sectors:

Research and Development

R&D departments cover a lot of ground and are responsible for developing applications and products for companies around the world. In an industry where it is virtually impossible to measure with traditional measurement devices, 3D scanning allows scientists and researchers to gather data from complex designs, hand-made artifacts and human anatomy without any issues.

Artec 3D Scanner Model Eye Artec 3D Scanner Model Hair Artec 3D Scanner Model Backbone and Ribs

For example, Artec’s high resolution, handheld scanners have enough accuracy to capture the correct position of the iris (left), render detailed hairlines (middle) and scan geometrically rich models with hard-to-scan surfaces such as backbone and ribs (right). And even more impressive, the scan time for all the above was less than five minutes with as little as one minute for processing time. Load the 3D model below to see how different angles of the scan can be used in research and development.

Preclinical Testing

In the field of medicine, you can rarely practice surgeries and operations using real patient anatomy (rightfully so). Traditionally, this could lend challenges in preclinical testing, but with 3D scanning, doctors can now digitize real-world objects and quickly acquire data from a wound, broken anatomy or cosmetic surgery. 

Artec 3D Scanner Model EarTo the right, see a 3D scanned ear for making prosthetics: the detailed geometry of a healthy ear can be mirrored to make a perfect replica. The ability to clone 3D models helps improve communication between patients and staff and test custom solutions. Whether scanning for a fitment check or sizing for a prosthesis, Artec 3D scanners can save hospitals time and money with a more streamlined workflow.


The manufacturing of medical devices can range from precise surgical blades and scalpels to custom made prosthetics and wheelchairs. 3D scanners can take traditional medical devices through the entire life cycle management, scanning data reverse engineering, part sampling, inspections, data acquisition and more. Rather than manufacturing solutions that are one-size fits all, 3D scanners allow you to develop custom medical solutions specific to each patient.

Artec 3D Scanned ProsthesisPlus, the Artec Eva captures and simultaneously process up to 2,000,000 points per second with high resolution (up to 0.5 mm) and high accuracy (up to 0.1 mm), which makes it ideal for scanning human anatomy. Read our case study to learn how a team of engineers used the Artec Eva to create a 3D model of a girl’s leg and design a tailor-made prosthesis of the gastrocnemius muscle. With the combination of Artec 3D scanners and Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS, it’s easy to reverse engineer a custom catered solution.

>> Learn how Artec 3D scanners helped a girl walk

Medical Training & Physician Education

For similar reasons mentioned above, Artec 3D scanners are also a popular tool for medical training. Scanning compliments 3D printing and develops hands-on, practical solutions or experiments. It gives education verticals an opportunity to study and measure human structures with a non-contact approach without sacrificing authenticity of the models.

Ultimately, the major reason the medical industry is adopting 3D scanners, especailly with the use of Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS and/or Design X, is because they can extract data from a 3D scan and reverse engineer the item accurately and fast. Artec 3D helps maximize, improve and optimize efficiency in the their processes.

Interested in seeing Artec 3D scanners in action? Click the link below to request a demo.