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How 3D Printing Can Be the Game changer For Your Medical Profession

  • Highlights

  • Wide scope of 3D printing in healthcare

  • 3D printing and its applications

  • Increases productivity and cost efficiency

  • Customised healthcare

With its ability to print human organs, 3D bio-printing is revolutionising the health industry. From creation of surgical tools to tissue & organ fabrication, 3D printing can save humanity from the unnecessary suffering, and save lives as well.

What is 3D Printing

Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a manufacturing method in which objects are made by fusing or depositing materials in layers to produce a 3D object. These objects can include plastic, metal, liquids, ceramics, powders, or even living cells.
3D printing is also called rapid prototyping (RP), additive manufacturing (AM) or solid free-form technology (SFF). Though the 3D printers are like general inkjet printers, the product that is produced is 3D in nature.
It is important to note that the two-dimensional (2D) radiographic images, can be converted to digital 3D print files.

This helps in the creation of complex, customised anatomical, and medical structures. 2D radiographic images include x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerised tomography (CT) scans.

Benefits of 3D Printing In Healthcare

Some of the benefits of 3D printing in healthcare are:
-Increased productivity
-Increased cost efficiency
-Customisation of medical products, drugs, equipment
-Development of organs and tissues

Applications of 3D Printing In Healthcare

-Bio-printing tissues and organs
-Customised implants and prostheses
-Anatomical models for surgical preparation
-3D-printed dosage forms, and drug delivery devices
-Dental guides, and automated suturing
-Surgical tools, and other medical equipment
-Pharmaceutical, and cancer research
For example, scientists at Pandorum Technologies, arranged the liver cells, into three-dimensional tissue architecture. These cells are encapsulated in a kind of hydrogel. The hydrogel or bio-ink is made up of glucose, proteins, and insects' living cells. The team used indigenously developed 3D bio-printer to bio-print mini-livers.

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Dr. Stuart Williams and researches are working in a new project in the university of Louisville, that allow doctors to build 3D printed heart using live fat cells. The heart will be known as ‘bioficial heart’.
With the help of Oxford Performance Materials 3D printer, 75% of a patient's skull was replaced with an implant called steoFab Patient Specific Cranial Device. The implant was made from a PEKK polymer which is similar to bone.

Depending on the functionality, print materials, and the size of prints, the prices for Stratasys’ line of 3D printers range from USD 6,000 – USD 750,000 or Rs.4 lakh to Rs.4 crore approximately. It took Pandorum Technologies Rs.1 crore to print 10 million human liver cells in order to produce 5 mm sized liver tissues. Scientists, and surgeons who want to use 3D bio-printing for organs, and surgical tools can avail a doctor loan to leverage these costs.

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