The world of health and medicine is advancing by leaps and bounds mainly due to its integration with technology. Medical 3D printing is offering very good results, being one of the most emerging sectors. Much has already been accomplished on how to help and even replace our biological structures, as well as other achievements. Next, we are going to review the different types of 3D impressions that have revolutionized medicine as we knew it.
Today 3D printing has already laid the foundations for the vast majority of advances in the medical sector . It is being developed in all its fields in order to improve surgical interventions, helping to better understand some diseases and how to intervene. Also in relation to medicines, dentistry, prosthetics, tissues and organs, etc. These that we show you are the 10 most relevant types of impressions today.
3D prints that have revolutionized medicine
This is one of the most surprising and impactful types of 3D printing. It is mainly due to the FDM 3D Printing technology that contains special antibacterial filaments . Its great advantage is that the manufacture of these prostheses has a lower production cost. There are already many organizations that are carrying out this type of 3D printing, especially in projects with countries that are at war and there are a large number of people with amputations of all kinds. The prostheses that are created are sent to these places where they are most needed.
On the other hand, there is metal 3D printing (DMLS), in which materials such as titanium are used , with the intention of being implanted in many cases, such as in orthopedic hips. The benefit of this type of technology is that it allows you to make each of the pieces fully customized.
2. Organ impression
In this regard, one of the most significant successful cases was in Australia. Due to a disease that the patient suffered, certain parts of the sternum had to be removed, what had been removed needed to be replaced, and at Anatomics in Melbourne they offered a solution through 3D printing for organs. At present, ears are being printed through human cartilage. The potential of this field is overwhelming, so there is still much to be developed.
Dentists often require high-quality parts that have excellent precision. Resin 3D printing has a lot to say in this field, and it has taken up the challenge of manufacturing exclusive pieces that adapt to each patient , thus facilitating operations and avoiding damage and pain. Now thanks to 3D printers of dental resins and Form 2, doctors generate utilities and tools of greater precision, which are of great help to place plates, screws, implants, etc.
In 2018, the first implant of a lower jaw created by 3D printing in a child took place in China . Thanks to this technology, the implant could be perfectly tailored to you. This video shows a jaw implant after removal of a tumor with the help of 3D technology:
Hearing aids were one of the first medical fields where 3D printing began to establish itself. They began to be manufactured in 1998, and today up to 98% of these devices are created with 3D printers . The progress in this sector is unquestionable, and is an example of the great utility of this type of technology. In addition, today, a single printer is capable of producing up to 30 hearing aids in an hour and a half.
Techniques that have obtained good results are already being used in the field of rehabilitation as well . Through 3D printing, a project has been developed to create some types of splints that adapt to the patient, helping to immobilize the fractured limb in order to incorporate an electrostimulation system. This system is connected to the mobile, so that the patient from home can continue with the rehabilitation. This type of measure allows the recovery time to be reduced and implies a lower cost.
Although it seems like science fiction, there are already many cases in which 3D printing has played a fundamental role in certain types of implants. One of the most shocking was the cranial implant that they made to a girl who had suffered a brain tumor . After the operation, the surgeons had to perforate the skull and some of its parts had to be removed, so they finally decided that the best solution was to create a 3D impression with plastic, titanium and calcium. The result was a complete success.
7. Simulations in surgery
3D printing has helped traumatologists perform simulations in surgery . The models of the bones that they are going to create have been created so that at the time of the real operation it is not necessary to improvise and everything is done faster and more directly. This has meant that the interventions last less time and that the recovery of the operated person is much more effective and faster. They have achieved this thanks to the image made by the CT scan of the lesion, the data is sent to the computer and the 3D printer is in charge of printing the model.
8. Heart transplants
Siemens together with the La Paz hospital in Madrid have developed a scientific-technological agreement to create personalized prostheses that are used to perform heart transplants . This is an agreement that serves to promote innovation and research in the field of cardiac operations.
9. Tissue printing
It is called bioprinting and it is a procedure capable of developing skin and tissues through 3D printing. The University of Leiden in the Netherlands is developing a project in which it combines this technology with induced stem cells (iPS) with the intention of creating this tissue. It is undoubtedly a field of great effectiveness, and it is already being investigated and carried out for military purposes, in the area of people who have suffered burns.
10. Personalized medications
Pharmaceutical companies have also joined 3D technology in order to develop personalized medicines. There are people who need to take a large number of pills daily for different health problems. The main challenge is that these pills are just as effective simultaneously. This may not be suitable for all types of patients, which is why personalized medications are a great option . One of its main advantages is that doctors will be able to control the potency of the active principle, and the time in which it is released.