While 3D printing is becoming more widely used in general engineering the use of 3D printing in the medical and allied sectors such as dentistry has only just begun.
Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have signed a contract for a new digital post-mortem service.
The first of its kind in the North West, the new service uses developments in CT scanning to enable less invasive autopsies than the traditional method.
The service will be provided free at the point of delivery by iGene Ltd and will be based in Preston.
Mark Pugh, medical director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are delighted to be the first place in the North West to provide this innovative service, which will help to reduce distress for grieving families who are already going through a difficult time.
"This revolutionary approach to providing post-mortem examinations is far less invasive which means we are able to treat the deceased with more dignity and more quickly than the current arrangements. We are pleased to have been able to deliver this service in collaboration with Dr Adeley [senior coroner for Lancashire], Lancashire County Council and iGene in full recognition of the benefits it will provide for the people in Lancashire."