3D printing technology is one of the most impactful technological advancements today, and it is transforming every aspect of people’s lives – from making cost-efficient changes in the manufacturing industry, to enhancing the quality of learning in education and even revolutionize the medical field in four significant applications.
For one, 3D printing technology can replace human organ transplants, speed up surgical procedures, and create cheaper versions of surgical tools to enhance the process of operation and improve the lives of patients reliant on prosthetics. In many ways, 3D printing is helping lives and places never imagined just a few years ago. To that end, here are the different applications it can do to transform the modern medical industry.
Benefit #1: Low-Cost Prosthetics
3D printing opens up avenues for medical professionals to produce low-cost prosthetic limbs that can be fully customised and tailored to fit the patient. The traditional way of constructing prosthetics can take between several weeks and months to produce, but 3D printing technology can significantly speed up the process. At a faster turnaround, amputees can reap the benefits that offer the same functionality all for a friendlier price.
The low price point makes 3D printing prosthetics highly applicable for children who can quickly outgrow their prosthetic limbs and may require regular changes throughout their growth. Beyond the advantage of cutting back on expenses, 3D printing also allows patients to design a prosthetic that directly corresponds to their needs. For instance, 3D printed limbs can have a design that has more comfortable sockets and a more natural appearance as a whole.
Benefit #2: Customised Protective Devices and Aids
Beyond customizing prosthetic limbs, 3D printing enables the rapid production of high-quality devices such as dental implants, hearing aids, prescription glasses, and even headgear for better protection and fit.
Benefit #3: 3D Printed Models for Assisting Surgery Preparations
3D printing technology can produce patient-specific organ replicas to aid surgeons in practising or preparing for a complicated operation. This can significantly minimize trauma for patients and even speed up the surgical procedure ranging from a full-face transplant even to spinal procedures.
For instance, a hospital in Dubai was able to successfully operate on a patient with severe cerebral aneurysms in four veins. A 3D printed model of the patient’s arteries helped surgeons map out how to safely navigate the blood vessels, which increased the likelihood of a successful operation. To that end, doctors can practice on a customized 3D printed model prior to surgery to improve the chances of a better surgical outcome.
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