3D printers: A revolutionary frontier for medicine

Mission control on earth receives a pressing verbal exchange from Mars that an astronaut has fractured his shinbone. Using a handheld scanning device, the team takes pics of his damaged tibia and transmits them to earth.

Orthopedic surgeons then use a 3D printer to create a precise duplicate of the astronaut’s leg from clinical imaging files received before the voyage. Surgeons on the planet use a robotic to stabilize the bone with a steel plate at the three-D duplicate. The statistics are transmitted returned to Mars, in which surgical contraptions, a personalized plate, and screws are 3-D revealed. Finally, a surgical robot operates on the injured astronaut.

3D printers: A revolutionary frontier for medicine

As a neurosurgeon and a researcher in remote presence robotics, I provide you this vision of the future. I am additionally a member of the Expert Group at the Potential Healthcare and Biomedical Roles for Deep Space Human Spaceflight of the Canadian Space Agency. Though 3D printing in space is still in early development, a revolution in 3-d printing is already occurring in the direction of domestic. And it has transformative implications for the future of fitness care.

What is 3-D printing?

Additive production, or three-D printing, makes use of a digital model to build an item of any length or shape — via including successive layers of material in a single non-stop run. This layering capability allows the producing of complicated shapes, inclusive of the difficult shape of bones or vascular channels that might be not possible to create through different techniques.

Advances in pc design and the capability to translate scientific imaging — which includes X-rays, automatic tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound — to virtual models that can be read by way of 3D printers are expanding its packages in fitness care. 3-D printing is starting a horizon of first-rate opportunities, such as bioprinting living tissues with “biological ink”.

3D printers: A revolutionary frontier for medicine

More than 64,000 humans had been killed or injured by using landmines in Cambodia in view that 1979. Three-D printing notably lowers the fees of prosthetic arms and palms, helping landmine sufferers together with this teenage boy in Phnom Phen. (Shutterstock)

A benefit of three-D printing technology is that it allows for customization of health care — customized prostheses and tailor-made drugs and organs, for instance. This generation may also lower charges by means of disrupting supply chains and reducing the production prices of clinical devices, surgical contraptions, and other fitness-care merchandise.