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How 3D printers can save lives

3D printing is transforming healthcare models that effectively help doctors and surgeons to save lives. If you’re not familiar with 3D printing, it is creating a new object from digital file. A 3D printer operates much like a similar way as regular printer papers. The difference is that, it uses threads, plastic or heated metallic to replicate a physical object.

The object is designed in a specialized 3D software imaging. With this revolutionary technology, 3D designers can create nearly any object or image that can be imagined. Although 3D printers are yet not 100% perfect but with the combination of different 3D printing pens, they make some very good and reliable models.

Re-imaging medicinal images

Images are important to practice medicine. 3D printer take these images to an advanced level. By using the data from CT and MRI scans in order to produce plastic models, 3D printers can replicate the size and compactness of organs along with structural parts for surgeons to practice on 3D models. In addition to that, printing cells can give a better way of studying diseases in the laboratory and development therapies. One example is the ovarian cancer cells that are printed onto a gel in a lab dish.

After that, they are tested to check the effectiveness of drugs on them before directing them on real cancer patients. 3D models also act as a very powerful diagnostic tool. In 3D mammography or digital breast chemosynthesis, a very clear view of overlapping of breast tissues can be seen thus leading to live saving earlier than cancer detection.

Replacing tissues and organs

3d-printed-organAnother significant feature of 3D modeling is the production of body parts that can go inside the body. The specialized 3D printers can be used to jet living cells along with support material known as scaffolding. These bioprinters are excessively used for printing skin, bones and joints. Recently a new technology is used for creating a pelvis of man. Moreover, organ printing systems is no less than a revolutionary change.

As the number of people waiting for organ transplant increase every day and a lot of them die while waiting for the transplant. Therefore, printing bones, muscles structures and other organs can incredibly save human lives. In addition to that, 3D parts can also be created without using the biological materials. 3D prints of a surgical guides, plates and titanium implants can even be used to construct the entire face of a patient.

Designing medicines

Though there is a lot of advancement in new medicines. Despite of that, more than 50% people do not take their medications as prescribed. There might be reasons for non-compliance such as bitterness of the products. But now with 3D printing, the first 3D pill called as anti-epilepsy drug is approved by FDA and took the step forward in addressing the problem. The 3D printing technology works in the most efficient way and allow pills to instantly dissolve on the tongue with just a sip of liquid thus giving you freedom from trouble in swallowing pills.

Furthermore, 3D technology allows printing of high dose medications as well. The process does not involve any traditional way of production that is based on compression forces or molded techniques which ultimately limit dose ranges. With 3D technique, high doses can be achieved while maintaining medication fragmentation. In addition to that, it can also alter pill’s surface area with printing new multifaceted shapes.

This allows more reliable and customized control over dosing, size, colors and flavors. Also, it can be especially useful for elder people, children, special people or large medication consumers. Another prominent benefit of 3D printers is that it also allows manufacturers to shift production and distribution closer to consumers that will result in increase in compliance.

Orthopedic supports

Orthopedic medicines chiefly focus on correcting structural anomalies or injuries of an individual’s skeletal system. In this situation, a 3D image of patient’s bone is created and the physical model of the bone that highlights the area where malformation is occurring is printed out. This allow the doctor to look at the bone and issue much carefully. After thorough diagnosis, doctors can able to perform surgical procedure with 3D printing and install custom fit healing orthopedic supports that are designed specifically to fit in the precise patient’s bone disorders resulting in quick recovery.

Cancer Treatments

3d-printing-medical-lab3D printing is being utilized in cancer treatment by an increase accuracy in radiation therapy. 3D printers have created phantom tumors, an organ based on the CT scans of the patient during cancer treatment. These plastic models are filled with liquids that allows experts to see the effects of radiopharmaceuticals. Radiopharmaceutical are the drugs containing radioactive materials. These are either directly injected into the veins, taken orally or placed on some body cavity.

They are used to treat a variety of tumors that mainly includes thyroid cancer, nerve cell cancer and specific bone cancers. The radiopharmaceutical dose can kill high number of cancel cells without damaging any healthy tissue around the tumor site. This exact model of the tumor by using 3D printing permits doctors to fine tune dosing that increase the efficacy of cancer treatment.

Educational Tool

A 3D printed model of a diseased or affected organ can act as a powerful educational tool. It helps doctors to understand the effects of a disease which lets them prepare to face such conditions. With these advanced modeling techniques, surgeons can carry out more advanced procedures while operating in order to come up with the most successful results.

Conclusion

With the revolution in 3D printing, the medical community is gearing up. An exchange of ideas has been put forwarded by 3D print for health. Though the adoption might be slow as whenever a new product goes inside a human body, some concerns will be there. Secondly change is a bit hard in health care where coordination of a large ecosystem is required.

But soon, it will be regarded as the biggest revolution in history of medicine that will save more lives than ever before.


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