3-D Printers are Revolutionizing HealthcareHealthcare Training Resource
February 3, 2014 — 953 views
In this technology driven world, we are constantly depending on computers and equipment to get our work done. In almost every industry, computers are running every operation or is aiding them greatly, which is why many companies around the world invest millions of dollars into revolutionizing equipment. One such technological advancement which is making headway is the 3-D printer. 3-D printers help in making a three dimensional object of any shape and size using a digital model where every layer of the object is broken down. Here are some of the ways in which 3-D printers are revolutionizing the healthcare sector:
As of now, printers are able to give an accurate image of various body parts and have already helped a lot in the field of joint replacements. Knee replacement is among the top common operations in this field where doctors have to use a set of six different types of knees to get the job done. With each one, the doctor will have to cut the bone in a different way. With 3-D printing, the doctor does not have to limit himself/herself to six, he can design it specifically for each of his patients. Patients who are given custom knees will have to lose an inch of their bone as the surgeon will be able to cut at the optimal point. This leads to a better functionality and a quicker recovery time. Flexible, strong knee joints can be replicated by mimicking the cartilage and bone which can then be printed with nylon.
Many medical organizations are using 3-D machines as they help in customizing the device specifically for the patient. As of now, hearing aids are already using 3-D printers to customize the device to the user's specifications while modeling, printing, and scanning helps the doctor save time over casting a mold of the patient's inner ear. In a procedure which normally takes a week, the procedure can be done in under a day. Crowns and dental implants are also using 3-D printers to get the job done. A process which would normally take one or two weeks can now be done in an hour or two while the patient waits in the waiting room. Generally, doctors buy medical devices in bulk as much customization is not required for them. However, in rare cases, it is best to have one in order to create a brand new device which needs to be provided on demand.
Future use in Human Tissues
In today’s world, anything is possible and right now, doctors are looking at 3-D printers as the gateway to creating live human tissue. Making organs and tissues is a process which was unheard of a few years back. But it is now becoming a possibility with the advent of 3-D printing. As of now, small printed pieces of liver tissue in Petri dishes can be used for testing different types of drugs. Larger models of 3-D printing are also helping surgeons in many ways.