3D Printing and Medicine: Changing Lives
Over the past few years, 3D printing has been in the news but until recently, no mention of the technologies possible medicine implications had been mentioned. As more researchers, Doctors, and health professionals add 3D printing to their repertoire of treatments, it will gain notoriety as a treatment of the future!
The healthcare implications from 3D printing are astounding! This year alone, we’ve seen 3D printing used to model an entire human skull, to practice incredibly complex and time-consuming surgeries, while also being used to create implants for reconstructive surgery. According to Doctors, 3D printings saves time, money, and more lives since it improves the efficiency of procedures and surgeries. In the future, it’s likely that 3D printing will be utilized to create human cells, including full organs that can be transplanted into patients.
Researchers have began work into a 3D printer that will make stem cells that function just like those that are naturally found in the body. While scientists have seen success with growing stem cells inside the laboratory, these cells are considered 2D and don’t perform functions like natural stem cells. Another big way that 3D printing can improve medicine is by allowing medical professionals to test new drugs on human tissue that’s been printed from a 3D printer. This means that personalized medicine for individuals is right around the corner as Doctors can use specific patient’s DNA to figure out how that patient will respond to a particular treatment.
Perhaps the most obvious way that 3D printing will change medicine is the idea of printing out prosthetics, implants, and other medical devices. Medical students continue to receive instruction on how to use 3D printers in practice, including new trends in medical devices. Customized dental drills, temporary dental implants, and even hearing aids have recently been created using 3D printing. Another big plus of 3D printing is the ability to mass-produce multiple individualized medical device products, saving time and money. There are quite a number of practical applications for 3D printing but the impact 3D printing could have in the medical field, is astonishing!
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