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Top 10 3D Printed Medicinal Applications Available Right Now

Top 10 3D Printed Medical Applications

The medical industry is known for its forward-thinking approach, which is why so many new drugs, surgical methods, disease cures and other advancements are made. And one of the tools that the medical industry has been using to its advantage is 3D printing. There are countless medicinal applications and tools that 3D printing is bringing to the industry, and we are going to look at the top ten applications below.

  1. Tissues Featuring Blood Vessels – Harvard researchers are showing the world that it is possible to bioprint blood vessels, which would help print tissues that have a blood supply. The 3D printer, which was custom built, features a dissolving ink that creates the tissue featuring skin cells that could eventually function as blood vessels.
  2. Prosthetic Parts – One way that 3D printing has helped both doctors and patients is with the printing of prosthetic parts. In the past, these parts were produced using traditional means. That meant two options for a patient: going with a bad fit or waiting months for a custom-made part. 3D printing means the process takes days to complete, which results in custom limbs that fit a patient perfectly.
  3. Drugs – There is a lot of work that is being done on 3D printers that would be capable of printing out drugs. As insane as it sounds, the printer would assemble the chemical compounds of the drug and then bring everything together, one layer at a time. One printer is able to churn around biodegradable devices that can deliver bone cancer medication.
  4. Sensors – By using scans of animal hearts to produce printed models, and then wrapping stretchable electronics around the area, researchers were able to create tailor-made sensors that can be attached to a human heart. These sensors can already detect things like heart strain, temperature and oxygenation, but future ones could even detect blocked arteries.
  5. Models – Many researchers around the world are now printing models of cancerous tumors. By printing out these tumors, it helps to discover cancer drugs and understand how these tumors may be growing and spreading in the human body. In the future, we may even see patient-specific tumor models that doctors can print out and use as part of a treatment plan.
  6. Bones – A professor from Washington State University has the eventual goal of printing out bones using a 3D printer. For now, the technology allows for the ability to bind chemicals to ceramic powder, which promotes the bone growth in various shapes.
  7. Heart Valves – Someone at Cornell printed a heart valve, and animal testing is already underway on this item. With the dual-syringe machine, the researcher eve n printed smooth muscle cells and valve intestinal cells to control how still the valve was.
  8. Ear Cartilage – By using 3D photos of human ears, they were able to create ear molds and eventually print out collagen ears that feature electronic components. The possible uses for those who lose an ear, or even suffer from hearing disorders, are remarkable.
  9. Medical Equipment – 3D printing is helping those who are in poorer parts of the world in a significant way. Hospitals and doctors in those areas do not have the money nor the infrastructure to regularly order and replace necessary medical equipment. Instead of having to perform procedures with substandard equipment, those items can now be printed out. For instance, umbilical cord clamps are printed and used in Haitian hospitals.
  10. Synthetic Skin – There is a printer that can print out skin and apply it straight onto the wounds of people who suffered serious burns or injuries. The printer can even fabricate the necessary number of layers that are needed to fill the wound with skin. The United States Army funded the project to see if it would help them treat soldiers who suffer skin wounds in battle or training.
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