The Potential of 3D Printing in the Medical Sector

3D printing is taking the world by storm, offering unlimited possibilities when it comes to bringing ideas to life. It is set to transform the medical industry in particular, and the technology is being touted as the new frontier when it comes to the future of everything from medical supplies and equipment to even human tissue engineering.

3D printing is not necessarily new to the medical world. Things like hearing aids and Invisalign braces have been making use of 3D printing for many years. Advances in the technology has led to breakthroughs like 3D printed implants, bone replacement and even human tissue. It has already saved many lives around the world, with one known case being that of a 3 month old baby in Ann Arbor, Michigan who was born with weak tissue in his airway. 3D printing was used to design a scaffold-like tube to hold the airway open.

Read on to find out some of the other ways many in the medical sector believe that 3D printing could change the medical world!

Organs

Producing an entire organ from scratch may sound unbelievable, but the reality of it being a possibility may not be as far away as you may think. Already, scientists and researchers have been able to print kidney cells, cardiac tissue that beats like a real heart and the foundations of a liver. 3D organ printing has the potential to drastically reshape the way society conducts organ donations and transplants, helping to address the organ shortage crisis and saving countless lives.

Medical equipment

Medical equipment by nature can be quite expensive, representing a significant cost to governments and healthcare facilities around the world. It is particularly a barrier in developing countries that are besieged with many widespread medical issues, as they are simply unable to afford expensive equipment. The ability to produce medical equipment efficiently and inexpensively with 3D printing can help solve this problem, by increasing supply and driving down prices to make them more affordable for poverty stricken areas around the world.

Prosthetics

The process of creating prosthetics is an extremely time consuming process, and one that is not always effective — especially because any modifications made often destroy the original moulds. On top of this, prosthetics are often very expensive, making them inaccessible to people in Third World countries devastated by war who need them most. Many in the medical field have been dedicating research into using 3D printing to produce prosthetic limbs, as an inexpensive and endlessly customisable alternative to the traditional method.  ​

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