3D printing is taking the world by storm, and a lot of different industries are taking notice. The ability to create accurate 3D models of virtually anything is an amazing development that is only getting more effective as the process gets more refined. One of the many industries to take notice of this technology and its possible applications is the medical industry, where 3D printing can help in research, test new technologies, and much more.
3D Models for Research
Medical research requires multiple professionals to be able to take a good, long look at certain models before they start experimenting with actual humans. This could include heart models for cardiac research, skulls or even entire skeletons for a look into the skeletal system, and much more. Because of the cost of typical medical models, hospitals and research centers often avoid putting them in situations that could potentially damage them, which hampers research. By using 3D printing, researchers can create low-cost but anatomically accurate models of almost any part of the body. This allows them to custom-make models for use in research experiments, clinical trials, and essential lab tests.
Believe it or not, 3D printing can provide low-cost prosthetics to patients who have suffered amputation or who were born without a certain body part. Designing such prosthetics requires a lot of technical expertise, but they are very durable and can function almost as well as a traditional prosthetic limb. If doctors have a question about how a patient’s body might be able to handle a prosthetic, they can test out the 3D printed limb first to see how the body reacts. For patients who are getting their own standard prosthetic limb, 3D printing can be used to provide a temporary convenience while the specific limb gets ordered, shipped, and adjusted to fit the patient’s needs.
Bio printing refers to the practice of using a 3D printer to create human tissue and blood vessels. This is used in surgery, transplants, and many other practices that are essential to patient survival. That’s not the only way in which bio printing is helping medical professionals, though. The technology has existed for almost a decade now and is taking huge leaps forward as we come closer to the end of the first quarter of the 21st century. Nowadays, bio printing can be used to create entire human organs – not only on the level of a model as described above but in some cases as a replacement for an internal body part. Heart valves and other essential body parts can now be recreated effectively with 3D printing.
From essential help in research to the development of entirely new body parts, 3D printing is quickly becoming a mainstay in the medical industry. The technology is only going to get more refined and advanced from here on out, and it will become more integrated into everyday medical practice. 3D printing in medicine is here to stay, and it has the potential to save a lot of lives.