Credit: Deep Tech Express

Today, 3D printing is employed in healthcare specialties including cancer, radiology, orthopaedics, and paediatrics.

With regards to software, hardware, services, and materials, 3D printing in healthcare is expected to generate $6.08 billion by 2027 thanks to new technological advancements. Customised medicine has benefited from 3D technology, which has improved operating room (OR) efficiency and allowed for a more precise assessment of patient symptoms and treatments. The introduction of 3D printing technology is having an impact on fields including cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, orthopaedics, paediatrics, radiology, and cancer.

Researchers, hospitals, and medical professionals all around the world use 3D printing for:

  • Personalised surgery and preoperative planning.
  • Surgical equipment and medical equipments.
  • Prosthetics, moulds, and implant options.
  • Drug administration and 3D digital dentistry.

1. Preparing in Advance

With the use of 3D printing, doctors may produce reference models from MRI and CT images to aid surgeons in better planning operations.

A youngster in Northern Ireland has two broken bones in his forearm in 2016. The youngster was in more agony than before and was unable to rotate his arm more than 50%. X-rays and CT scans revealed the presence of malformed bones, necessitating an osteotomy, a four-hour invasive procedure in which the surgeon alters the bones to enhance rotation. The doctor, however, generated a 3D model that altered the patient’s diagnosis, surgery procedure, and recovery:

  • The child’s capacity to rotate was restricted by the close structures between the bones rather than by the nature of the bones themselves.
  • Instead of taking four hours, the treatment was completed in less than 30 minutes.
  • Four weeks following the intervention, the patient was able to regain 90% of his or her arm range of motion.
  • Recovery time, post-operative discomfort, and scarring were significantly decreased.

Preoperative planning is changing as a result of 3D printing, which reduces the amount of time spent in the operating room, improves patient outcomes, hastens postoperative recovery, and lowers hospital expenses.

2. Creating Medical Gadget Designs

Medical equipment must adhere to a number of standards in order to function properly:

  • They ought to be the ideal combination of size and weight.
  • The needs to correspond to the specific forms of the human body.
  • They have to function and be able to endure particular endurance tests.

Traditionally, it took a long time to create a medical gadget that met these requirements. Manufacturers of medical devices discovered stereolithography as an alternative, which is a method of layer-by-layer structure construction using a moving laser beam under computer control. As a result, the inhaler prototype was made using 3D printing, together with the necessary fittings and jigs, with the following objectives:

  • Reduce output to one to two days from one to two weeks.
  • 90% cost reduction (from $250 to £11 or $343 to $15).

3. Making prosthetics

Simple prostheses come in standard sizes, while specialised bionic prostheses cost thousands of dollars. Many children in this circumstance outgrow their prostheses and require specialised replacement components, which are only made by a few manufacturers.

The Lyman’s Mano-matic prosthesis was developed in 2016 by Lyman Connor and Eduardo Salcedo to give bionic limbs to people who need them but cannot afford them. Prosthetics designers can employ 3D printing to get beyond the price challenges and time restraints associated with this procedure globally. 3D printing is a practical option for specialised bionic devices that mimic the movements and grips of a human limb since the prices are much cheaper than old methods and the prostheses are available in around two weeks.

Conclusion

More medical professionals are using 3D printing as the cost of high-performance printers declines in order to quickly and cheaply produce customised devices, anatomical models that are customised for specific patients, identify game-changing clinical solutions, and develop novel treatments tailored to patient needs.

The development of 3D printing technology will lead to an increase in specialised medical care and high-precision medical equipment. The field of ophthalmology, regenerative medicine, and bio-printing are among the other medical areas where 3D printing is anticipated to have an influence.

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