3D Printing technology is used for countless purposes in various industries, such as healthcare and medicine. Its impact on these two fields in particular has been enormous, providing doctors with a cutting-edge tool that benefits patients worldwide. 3D printing has produced 5 specific advances that have both changed and saved lives.
1. 3D Printed Prosthetic Joints
3D Printing has changed the landscape for prosthetic joints. Patients can now receive easily removable and fully custom motorized prosthetics. Additive manufacturing allows for the creation of prosthetics that are tailored to suit each individual’s specific needs because the parts are made from scanned data which can be edited to fit a specific person. The accuracy of the products is incredibly high, and the cost of these prosthetics come at half the price of traditional prosthetics. People who never thought it possible or affordable to just walk or close a hand now have the access to means for achieving these things. Through 3D printing, prosthetics are now developed faster, cheaper and more precise for those in need of them, changing lives everywhere.
3D printed prosthetics have boosted medical science
2. 3D Printed Prescription Drugs
Medications are almost always manufactured in factories, with only general dosages produced. Many patients on medication are forced to split their pills up because the dosage is too high, or take multiple pills because it is too low. However, 3D printed drugs open up the possibility to produce any specific individual the drugs they need with the exact amount of dosage the patient needs. For children, medicines can be printed in unique designs, such as animals or cars.
3D printed medicine gives a specific dosage to each patient
3. 3D Printed Models for Surgery
3D printing has the capability of producing a life-sized model of various human parts. With these parts, surgeons can actually simulate an upcoming surgery in order to perfect operational plans. For example, by having a 3D printed model of a patient’s windpipe, doctors can actually map out which tubes they will have to go into in surgery in advance. This dramatically lowers the fail-rate of surgeries. Without this technology, procedures would be prolonged and, in many cases, more dangerous. 3D printing has provided means for careful and elaborate surgical planning to take place.
A 3D printed heart can aide surgical precision
4. 3D Printed Blood Vessels
Through 3D Printing, a concept known as bioprinting has been created and is capable of printing living cells. Japanese scientist, Makoto Makamura, took 3D printing’s ability one step further by creating a bioprinter capable of producing a matter very close to a blood vessel. With the combination of these 2 scientific breakthroughs, scientists are racing to develop the first ever artificial organ that can be transplanted. If this is achieved, the benefits it could have in the medical field would essentially be unmatched.
The continued development of 3D printing living cells could in turn be a life changing advancement.
5. 3D Printing Bones
Additive manufacturing has saved lives through creating artificial replacement bones. In some cases, patients diagnosed with bone cancer now have the option to remove the bone, along with the tumor, and replace it with a bioprinted bone. As opposed to a full reconstruction, 3D replacement parts can made much easier with very accurate measurements. 3D printed pieces of skull have saved numerous lives for people with skull diseases by simply removing the affected part and replacing it with a plastic 3D printed piece. These parts are much easier to produce and more effective in results while also coming at a fraction of the traditional cost. As doctors continue to integrate 3D printing technology into their works, the industry’s ceiling will continue to rise.
3D printing can produce replacements for human bones