3D Printing is all set to revolutionize the Healthcare Industry
3D printing offers the health sector in terms of enhancing and saving patient lives
3D printing aims to revolutionize and transform different sectors and the healthcare sector is no exception. There are several advantages that this technology offers the health sector in terms of enhancing and saving patient lives. It can help accelerate procedures and ease financial burdens on healthcare systems, as well as offer a more personalized form of treatment for serious illnesses.
So, what is 3D printing?
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the method of producing three-dimensional physical objects from a digital image. A 3D printed model is created by means of additive procedures. An object is formed in an additive process by laying down successive layers of material until the object is complete.
3D bioprinting is a technique used in healthcare to produce living human cells or tissue for regenerative medicine and tissue development. Precision and customizable pharmaceuticals are now manufactured using this technology. Medical products, such as prosthetic arms, orthopaedical and dental implants, surgical equipment, and medical education models, are all manufactured using 3D printing technology.
The following are common examples of ongoing and prospective 3D printing applications in the healthcare industry:
- Modified prosthetics and implants
- Models of the human anatomy for surgical preparation and education
- Drug dosage formulations and discovery are both part of pharmaceutical research.
- Fabrication of tissues and organs
- Medical products and equipments that are personalized to the person.
Examples of 3D printing in healthcare
Regeneration of Bones
One such bone regeneration study from New York University is an excellent example of 3D printing in medical research.
A research team is looking into whether 3D printed implants will help animals with missing bones regenerate. The study’s ultimate aim is to see if this technology can benefit children and veterans with bone deformities or injury.
The researcher developed chemically coated ceramic scaffolds in the form of the missing bone for the study. The implant dissolves without damaging the animal as the natural bone regrows. In this case, this technology is hugely helpful because it enabled the researchers to test many different techniques ahead of time.
Engineers and medical researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a 3D-printed system that may one day help patients with long-term spinal cord damages recover some functionality.
This silicon-based ‘scaffolding’ acts as a substrate for specialized cells to be 3D printed on top of it. This guide will then be surgically inserted into the damaged region of a patient’s spinal cord, serving as a buffer between the living nerve cells in front and behind.
The goal is to relieve the patient’s pain while also restoring muscle, bowel, and bladder control.
Delivery of Innovative Drugs
Medical 3D printing also paves the way for new ways to bring medication to patients.
Researchers at University College London developed a method for topically supplying therapeutic acne medication to patients using additive manufacturing.
The researchers scanned pictures of the patients’ noses before 3D printing the devices to make sure they match perfectly. The tool’s compact yet precise nature ensured that the acne medication delivered an even dose of the drug. The drug was dispensed as a mask after being loaded into the printing filaments.
This study emphasizes the use of both 3D scanning and 3D printing for customized drug delivery devices, which may seem simple.
Forbes mentioned that, “this technology is ushering in a new era of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and convenience in the medical industry. The technology is leading the path toward the development of a sustainable framework for tackling poorly functioning organs — experts predict a not-too-distant future where it can facilitate cheaper organ replacement and better patient prognosis.
Modular 3D printed prosthetics have debuted on the medical scene with the same functionality as conventional models but at as little as half the cost. The slash in cost compared to the traditional base model highlights just how disruptive this tech is; one 3D printing production firm already suggested that this technology portends cost savings of up to 70% for its medical clients. As the technology evolves into a more practical and efficient system, so will the drug manufacturing, organ transplantation and other fields of medicine. 3D printing might at the end of the day prove to be the kind of disruptive innovation that launches the field of medicine to a new level.”