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The best applications of 3D printing in medicine-2019

06 Mar 2020 Developer News
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3D printing
3D printing

3D printing has played a key role in advances in the field of medicine. These advances are saving lives, and here we take an in-depth look at some of the ways 3D printing in medicine is making history.


New Age Healing

3D printing has brought great excitement and innovation to the medical field. It is now possible, and almost easy, to offer customized healthcare solutions, a relief for doctors and patients alike.

As expected, 3D printing in medicine has enabled customization, prototyping, manufacturing and research. As expected, the application areas are also quite broad, extending beyond general medical practice and research to include the following:

  1. Surgical preparation
  2. Prosthesis
  3. Dental
  4. 3D printing of tissues and organs.
  5. Drug dosage and pharmacology.
  6. Manufacturing of medical tools and devices.

In this article, we analyze in depth how these areas are benefiting and advancing with 3D printing in medicine.


Surgical Preparation

One way 3D printing is revolutionizing medicine is with surgical preparation. 3D printing is used to replicate specific patient organs that are used for practice to prepare before really complicated operations are performed. The application is far better and more accurate than just X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. Ultimately, this method has been shown to speed up procedures and minimize patient trauma. Procedures incorporating this technology include spinal repair, operations for birth complications, heart and vital organ transplants, and exploration and repair of fractures and cracks. Replication of organs for transplantation also helps to evaluate their compatibility for use. Another benefit is the surgeon's ability to physically manage and visualize the patient's specific anatomical model. This allows them to know the exact anatomy of the patient from multiple angles and therefore be able to anticipate what to expect during the procedure. This approach increases the likelihood of success in the patient's recovery. In addition to a higher success rate, surgical simulation and preparation with 3D printing have the potential to save costs and time.



3D printing in medicine is helping in the development of prosthetic limbs. Traditionally manufactured prostheses have been known to be very expensive and also uncomfortable for the amputee. 3D printing is addressing these concerns. The ultimate goal is to design comfortable prostheses that fit the specific needs of the patient and are also cost effective. With the many projects on 3D printed prosthetic arms and 3D printed prosthetic legs, this goal is already becoming a reality! Great work has also been done to provide prostheses or replacement limbs to war refugees and many others injured by natural disasters. The benefit in this application is truly immense. It brings much hope and joy to both the doctor and the patient that there is finally a viable solution within our reach.


Dental Applications

3D printing applications in dentistry have helped in a variety of different ways from orthodontics to general dentistry. The different dental areas that currently integrate 3D printing are producing customized and precise appliances, dental restorations, moldable crowns, dental bridges and frames and bases for dentures. 3D printing in medicine has helped the dental health field offer convenient chair-side care at a lower cost and with a controlled treatment plan. It also minimizes waiting time because no mold is needed, the function can be printed directly. Another important aspect of 3D printing when applied to dentistry is its easy adoption in a clinic, lab or dental office. Speed and precisely designed and developed solutions are key to this application, and 3D printing in medicine does just that.


3D Printing of Tissues and Organs

Tissues and organs can now also be printed in 3D. This is especially exciting and applicable to the field of transplantation, as it solves any moral and ethical issues that may be related to traditional transplant methods. It also increases acceptance since customized organ development uses the patient's own cells. Skin tissue repair and reconstruction, limb replacement, kidney transplantation and heart transplantation, among others, are being successfully achieved thanks to 3D printing in medicine. In addition, bone and muscle repair has been made possible by 3D medical printing with the production of orthopedic implants. Being able to print 3D cells and tissue organs has promoted research work on diseases such as cancer to study how tumors grow and develop with the intention of finding a cure.


Drug Dosing and Pharmacology.

3D printing in medicine can also simplify pharmacology and drug delivery. A simple solution for patients with multiple ailments is possible with a 3D printed pill containing multiple drugs at once, each with a different release time. An example concept called 'Polypill' has been tested for diabetic patients. This application deals with drug dosage and also solves problems of various drug interactions. For the patient, it eliminates the need for extensive monitoring of medication intake when their medications have different schedules. The 3D printed pills in the Polypill concept can be very cost effective. This makes the technology accessible to poorer and developing countries and applicable to health programs at an affordable price.


Medical Tools and Devices

With 3D metal printing, most surgical tools and medical devices can be printed in 3D. Some of the main surgical tools that are printed in 3D are forceps, haemostatics, scalpel handles and clamps, and other sterile tools. 3D printing actually produces these tools in a more sterile form and costs 10 times less than the equivalent stainless steel tools. 3D printing also makes it possible to quickly replace tools as needed. This technology is specifically intriguing so that specific tools can be designed into unique shapes, as needed, as well.


The Future of Medicine

3D printing in medicine is accelerating the healthcare industry at an impressive rate. The result is greater patient comfort, better understanding for the doctor and easier time for the pocket. Accuracy, speed and low cost are paving the way for a smarter, more joyful approach to healthcare.


Print in good health!

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