By adding the right cells into a polymer or gel, scientists can print 3D products that can continue to function independently – in other words, they can create living organisms. Skin is naturally comprised of layers, and so makes the perfect candidate for 3D printed reconstruction. A research team based in Madrid has already successfully transplanted 3D printed skin onto mice. In January, this accumulated in a prototype 3D printer that could print human skin.
Now, scientists at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid are waiting for the go ahead from European regulatory bodies before commercialising the technology. Mice have also been used to develop ovaries, which could potentially solve one of the most traumatic medical conditions that a woman can experience. Last year, scientists were able to implant ovaries into mice using a 3D printed scaffold of gelatin and cells. Other organs (like hearts) are particularly difficult to recreate due to their sheer complexity. However, less complicated organs like kidneys and livers could be available within the next six years.
3D printing technology in Medicine:
3D printing in medicine brings a boost in the medical manufacturer’s industry, allow researchers & doctors to create medical devices for their patients at an affordable price. 3D printing technology successes in the medical industry include the creation of limb prosthetics, titanium replacements for hips & jaws and plastic tracheal splints etc. Let’s have a look at major advancements of 3D printing devices in the medical field.
What is 3D Medical Printing?
Nowadays medical professionals or scientists prefers 3D printing technology i.e. used to synthesise the 3-dimensional object. In this printing, successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object of any shape, size, geometry etc. To form a 3D structure of any material, digital model i.e. 3D model or another electronic data source such as an AMF (Additive Manufacturing File) are used.
Steps of 3D medical printing:
Whenever we have to build any structure, we have to take care of lots of things like shape, size, surrounding environment etc. For these things, we have to proceed further step by step.
Modelling: For creating 3D printable models following software are used such as a 3D scanner, Computer Aided design package, photogrammetry & plain digital camera etc. CAD software is preferred one because it obtains accurate results with reduced errors & can be easily corrected before printing.
Printing: 3D model undergoes the process of testing to avoid errors in output STL files i.e., holes, noise shells, faces normals, self-intersections etc. Once testing performed, the STL files need to be processed by a piece of software called a slicer which converts the model into a series of thin layers & produces a G-code file containing instructions tailored to a specific type of 3D or FDM printers.
Finishing: After printing, finishing is required because the printer-produced resolution is not sufficient for every application. Based on the solvent or acetone printable polymers such as ABS allow the surface to be smoothed & improved using chemical vapour processes. All 3D printers cut the deposited metal substrate after the deposition process. To remove steel or aluminium, a new process for the GMAW 3D printing allow substrate surface modification.
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Medical Applications of 3D Medical Printing:
To revolutionise the health care, 3D printing greatly enters the medical industry and prove to be an asset for physicians in surgeries. Following applications of 3D printing in medicine are:
Tissue & organ fabrication
Pharmaceutical research concerning drug delivery
Benefits of 3D printing in Medical Applications:
With the emerging technology, doctors or physicians prefer 3D printing before surgeries of any organ part to reduce errors. Have a look at benefits of 3D printing in the medical field.
Increased cost efficiency
Customization & personalization of medical products, drugs & equipment
The democratisation of design & manufacturing
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