One of the biggest industries to ever start employing 3D printing technology is the healthcare industry. Here’s how 3D printing is changing the face of healthcare:
The Adoption of 3D Printing
Many healthcare providers have already invested in 3D printing. While some have their in-house 3D printer, other healthcare providers have opted to outsource their 3D-printing needs instead while still creating the original designs in-house because of the high costs. Additionally, a few healthcare providers work together with 3D printing services that are available in other healthcare providers in both the designing and production process.
3D Printing and Surgery
While there are many possible ways to utilise 3D printing, the healthcare industry is using it to create prosthetics, implants, and other personalised items. For example, 3D printed ribs were produced for a patient to offer a perfect fit. It was generated using volumetric data taken from the unharmed ribs to ensure accuracy.
In other cases, 3D printing has been used to help train surgeons to practice on extremely complex surgical operations not only to enhance their knowledge and skill but that they don’t have to worry about using or harming a real patient. For example, 3D printing has allowed the creation of kidney models that are incredibly accurate for these surgeons to practice on.
Furthermore, when patients must come into terms with the surgical operation, it is much easier for them to approve of the procedure if a doctor can explain the entire process using a 3D printed model. In other words, using such technology allows for a more informative interaction between the patient and the doctor.
3D Printing and Medicine
When it comes to medicines, such as pills, 3D printing has been the breakthrough many have been looking for. Back in 2015, the first FDA-approved 3D-printed tablet was created for epilepsy. The capsule was created with a unique design that proved highly effective for patients suffering from a seizure, something which was next to impossible to replicate with traditional methods.
Another way 3D printing proved a considerable benefit in producing medicine is the ability to combine different drugs into one. Known as “polypills,” these pills are designed to release a specific drug into the body at a particular time. For people who have a hard time swallowing pills, this is a significant benefit. Other than having to consume different medicines at different times, the individual can consume a polypill and be done with it. As a plus, polypills also help address problems like overdose or interference of the medicines.
3D printing has been a significant advancement for the healthcare industry and many others. With it, personalisation of items has been a game-changer, allowing healthcare providers to create things that are catered to their patients perfectly, such as 3D-printed bone for use in surgery. Moreover, the healthcare industry is still consistently finding new ways to employ the technology for a myriad of purposes, and as 3D-printing technology advances, so will the healthcare industry.