Practical Applications of 3D Printing in Medicine

3D Printing

3D Printing

3D Printing

Out of all the contributions of 3D printing, its applications in the medical industry are the most important. It helps doctors deliver better patient treatments. Amputees can use it to regain their life. And by the near future, 3D printed body organs may be transplanted to an actual human body. 3D printing in medicine, indeed, is a lifesaver.

Let's explore more of its practical uses in delivering better patient care.

Applications of 3D Printing in the Medical Field

3D printing fills in the gaps in medical manufacturing. This explains why hospitals and research institutions are investing in this technology.

Here are some of its practical applications in the medical field:

1. Anatomical Models for Surgical Planning

3D printed anatomical models can capture intricate details of complex body organs. It uses the imaging data or CT scan of a patient to create a computer-aided design (CAD) model. The printer will layer materials until it turns into a physical body part replica. It’s a helpful tool for both doctors and patients.

3D printed anatomical models are the exact representation of a body part. Doctors can use it to plan and decide which surgical procedure will be the safest and most effective. It also increases their precision while reducing risks.

At the same time, it’s also a helpful tool in explaining diseases to patients and their families. Physicians can elaborate the methods of the operations, including the areas they need to treat, repair, remove, or adjust.

2. Customized Prosthetics

3D printed customized prosthetics are cheaper alternatives to traditional prosthetics. This technology uses efficient designs, lessens assembly steps, and requires fewer materials. 3D printers “print” objects based on their actual shapes and details. There’s no need to trim down excess materials. Users will only need to polish the finished product by sanding and cleaning.

Because of it, prosthetics become more affordable for amputees, especially for those living in developing countries. In particular, children can benefit the most from 3D printed prosthetics. As they grow, they would need to replace their prosthetics more often than adults because it requires manual fitting to make sure it works based on its intended purpose. It also looks more appealing for kids. Its customizable features can produce prosthetics that look like a cool robot toy.

3. 3D Dental technology

3D dental technology shortens the process of getting dentures, implants, and orthodontic appliances.

Like doctors, dentists can also use 3D-printed dental models for researching, testing, and designing better dental implants. The same goes for explaining the procedure to patients. This can result in faster treatments, quicker recovery time, and superior patient care.

4. Surgical Tools

Hospitals can use 3D printers to create surgical tools to address the ongoing global supply chain issues.

Among the items they can produce are:

  • medical clamps,
  • needle drivers,
  • hemostats,
  • forceps,
  • retractors, and
  • scalpel handles.

Additive manufacturing of surgical instruments allows tailored modifications based on feedback given by surgeons. Compared to purchasing large quantities, physicians can request the tool they need when needed, making it more cost-effective.

5. Bioprinting

Though it’s still in its early stages, bioprinting is a futuristic dream that offers promising results to the science community.

It has the same process as 3D printing. The main difference lies in the materials used. Bioprinting uses cells and biomaterials instead of filaments, resins, and powders. For example, the required cells are taken from a patient, cultivated, and formed into a “bio-ink” as the primary additive manufacturing material. Through bioprinting, research facilities can create living tissue, blood vessels, bones, and if successful, whole organs. It will definitely become a mind-blowing milestone for the human race once perfected.

3D Printing Services for the Medical Industry

Explore the potential of 3D printing with MakerCarl. We have already worked with hospitals to produce PPEs and other equipment during the pandemic. Our 3D printers are also capable of printing detailed body part replicas which you can use for your surgical procedures.

If you’re interested to learn more about our services, visit our website or contact our team today.