By now most people have heard of 3D printing. The process by which three dimensional items can be printed by following input data. 3D printers are now being adapted to use a variety of materials including plastics and even synthetics used in the medical industry. The applications seem limitless for this technology. As healthcare costs in America continue to skyrocket, with no political solution in sight, this technology could offer some direly needed relief. Here are just some the ways in which 3D printing is already revolutionizing the healthcare industry.
One of the first medical applications for 3D printing in the medical field is in prosthetics. Where traditional prosthetics are mass-manufactured like any other traditional factory-produced good, 3D-printed prosthetics are custom-tailored for each individual user. The new custom prosthetics make a big difference to the user in comfort and fit.
Using stem cells as the production material, medical technology is now harnessing this technology and building tiny organs, or “organoids,”. These organoids, once built, will in the future be able to grow inside the body of a sick patient and take over when an organic organ, such as a kidney or liver, fails.
Like producing organoids for replacements, skin replacement for burn victims can also be produced using this technology. Researchers in Spain have now taken the mechanics of 3D printing and produced a 3D bioprinter prototype that can produce human skin. The possibilities for this technology, and the life-changing implications for burn victims, are endless.
3D printing technology will even have an impact on pharmacology vastly simplify daily life for patients with multiple ailments. A 3D-printed pill, unlike a traditionally manufactured capsule, can house multiple drugs at once, each with different release times. This concept, referred to as a “polypill” has already been tested on patients with diabetes and has shown great promise.
3D printing technology is one of those leaps in technology that only comes around after many years. We are witnessing a great change that will help us all.