Additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing, is a technology that was first introduced in the 1980s. The process involves using computer controls to create three-dimensional objects by printing successive layers of appropriate material, including like plastics, metals, and more.
Over the years, the technique has been adapted and used by a variety of different industries. While it is now common practice for large manufacturers to create parts for airplanes, cars, or even electrical appliances using 3D printing, this technology has also had a large impact in the medical field.
As part of our collaborative research program, the MediSurge team is currently implementing 3D printing technology to explore applications in final medical device manufacturing. In addition to medical device uses, 3D printing has played a large part in major advancements in the medical field.
Here are a few of the most incredible ways that 3D printing technology is being applied to the industry:
One goal for 3D printing in the medical industry is to eventually be able to print an entire human organ that would be viable for transplant. While it has not been achieved just yet, this would be done via bioprinting, which layers living cells instead of plastic or metal. Researchers have been hard at work for years ensuring that this will someday be possible. Scientists have already successfully printed kidney cells, cardiac tissue and parts of a human liver.
It is fairly common for amputees to have to wait weeks or even months for their prosthetics, since traditional manufacturing methods take a long time. With 3D printing, care providers can quickly produce prosthetic limbs that are perfectly customized to the specific patient.
This technology also allows for a much cheaper product cost, which ensures that more people can afford the devices they need. Lower costs are also helpful for the families of children, since younger patients quickly outgrow their prosthetic limbs.
Strides are also being made so that 3D printing will also benefit burn survivors and skin cancer patients. Once the technology progresses, care providers would be able to print skin grafts that could be directly applied to the body. This type of innovation has been in development since 2010 and is making large strides.
Having sterile, on-demand surgical tools is extremely important, and 3D printers can now be used to create devices such as forceps, hemostats, clamps, and scalpel handles. With significantly lower production costs, 3D printing will ensure no surgery team is ever short of important devices.
Small, precise tools can also be created using this technology, which allows for surgeons to operate on very tiny areas of the body. These small tools help to avoid causing unnecessary additional damage to the patient.
3D printing technology has played a significant role in recent medical advancements, and we are excited to see what comes next.
Our team is committed to creating products that ultimately improve patient care, and that is why we are focused on creating the healthcare of the future, today.
For more information about our current 3D additive manufacturing capabilities or how we can help you create the devices you need, contact a member of our team today.