3D Printing Changing the Face of Health Care

Introduction

3D Printing has been in use in the Health Care industry in the past few years.

3D printing technology has been used effectively in several areas of Healthcare.

  • To develop custom orthopedic implants and prosthetics - dental work and hearing aids, prosthetics, and medical sensors which can all be made from plastic or pliable materials and often need to be tailored for a specific patient.

  • Plan surgery or specific treatment plans for patients using precise anatomical models printed using CT or MRI scan reports.

  • Use 3D printed cadavers and organs for medical training purposes. Medical device prototyping is also feasible using 3D printing technology.

  • 3D printed drugs including pills, and other bio-compactable/biodegradable devices for delivering cancer medicines. 3D printers capable of assembling compounds at molecular level is a future possibility.

  • Bio-print live tissues for organ transplant and for testing during drug development. Heart valves with smooth muscle cells and skin cells interwoven with structural material that can act as blood vessels have already been developed and tested.

  • Future of 3D printing in the medical field includes printing of living tissues/organs, which can be used for organ transplants.

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Challenges

When printing biocompatible devices, drugs and tissues/organs, each requires specific materials which range from plastics, metals, tissues and biocompatible compounds. These materials need to be researched and decided upon after many rounds of trial and error testing methods.

 

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