Innovative Use of Medical 3D Printing - What's Next?
Healthcare has seen a surge in personalized precision medication development. One aspect of this is the use of medical 3D printing in the healthcare industry which has been making treatment and surgeries easier, effective and customized. Medical 3D printing has been beneficial for not just patients but the doctors as well, in terms of research, understanding, and discoveries in this field. Many personalized prosthetics are now being made through 3D printing that doesn’t look “artificial” or “not normal” and tend to blend with the individual’s physique. Hence, this innovative initiative in the field of medicine and healthcare is remarkable and laudable.
Considering the increasing demand and use of 3D printing in the healthcare, here are a few prominent ways in which it is helping the surgeons and doctors make bold decisions regarding the implementation of experimental and innovative treatments;
- Personalized Surgical Methods
One of the most impressive ways of treating patients is obtaining their complete consent and permission. This is the basic ethical way for medical procedures. With medical 3D printing, the patients are taken in confidence before being operated upon. This also provides personalized precision medication and treatments for special health issues that need specific attention, unique ways, or experimental treatments. Besides, 3D printing is also safe and efficacious when it comes to the internal insertion of artificial organs in the body.
The 3D printed anatomical models are helping the young doctors and seasoned researchers for creating pre-fitting medical equipment that are helpful in pre-operative planning and intra-operative control of the procedures.
The surgical processes that fully involve patients’ consent and participation are more efficient and result-based. This strategy makes the patients known about every development of their medical procedures which reduces anxiety and stress that comes with the pre and post-surgical stages.
- Biocompatible Medical Instruments
3D printing in medical procedures has made the prototyping of the instruments easier and efficient. This has given much leverage to the engineering professionals and medical equipment manufacturers. The medical equipment made through 3D printing is biocompatible and in some cases, biodegradable. Since they are internally inserted in the body, they are made to be safe and authentic for long-term use. Hence, these are physically safe and environment-friendly.
It has been estimated that the top 50 medical equipment manufacturing companies in the world incorporate the use of 3D printing for more potent instruments. They make medical prosthetics through advanced devices and these are used for complex designs and novel prototypes.
Some of the main advantages of biocompatible 3D printed medical instruments are that they are non-toxic and they avoid immunological response. Also, they ensure complete metabolization of the implants which is important for proper and continuous bodily functioning.
- Bio-printing and Tissue Organoids
Bio-printing or stereolithography refers to the printing of 3D cells and tissues that make up organs. These are made with bio-ink which creates layers of cellular structures. Some of the biggest bio-printing projects include 3D printed synthetic skin, hearts, livers, pancreas, and kidneys.
The tissue structures are surprisingly made from the extracted tissues from the patient’s body for they contain his/her immunological, biochemical, cellular, and anatomical profile.
These are being rapidly made with advanced strategies and innovative methods. These bio-printed organs have revolutionized the way people see disabilities and even deaths. Hence, bio-printing has given control to health professionals in terms of saving lives and maintaining ‘normalcy’ for the disabled ones.
- Corrective Orthoses
Every day, thousands of accidental injuries occur in which people lose limbs, bones, facial or internal organs, or musculoskeletal damages. These damaged organs and bones can be replaced with the help of medical 3D printing. These are also much in use in the dental industry and diseases like cerebral palsy.
One of the most important uses of 3D printed medical instruments is the making of foot orthotics or insoles. These are very helpful for the ones with flat foot and other musculoskeletal foot issues.
- Personalized 3D Drug Printing
Another striking innovation with the help of 3D technology in the medical industry is the creation of personalized drugs. The specific thing about these drugs is that they are made with the powdered layer of the original drug and its size is customized according to the dosage and prescribed quantity of the medicine.
There are many biotech companies that are making personalized drugs for individual patients and their needs. Along with these, many novel drugs are also being created that are completely biochemical and biodegradable in nature. Hence, one-size-fits-all drug model is now being looked down upon by healthcare professionals due to precision medicines due to the difference of age, gender, height, weight, disabilities, hereditary properties, and co-morbidities among individuals.
The future of medical 3D printing – What’s next?
The future of 3D printing in the medical industry seems to be quite innovative and exciting. It is expected that health professionals will be making tailor-made sensors to monitor one’s own organs, along with printing 3D medicines at home!
Many pre-surgical models are already in use for studying and demonstrating the procedures beforehand. These are used mainly for training and simulations for medical studies.
In addition, non-living implants such as the ones used for hip corrective surgeries, are expected to be on the rise in the future with 3D printed organs and prosthetics. Also, reproductive organs like ovaries are expected to be made to tackle infertility issues.
Simply put, the above-mentioned future prospects in the healthcare 3D printing industry are promising. Many new ideas are being generated due to the reliability and efficacy of the 3D printed organs, prosthetics, and drugs. Hence, the future of 3D printing seems to be quite propitious for the health professionals and the patients as well.