5 Modern 3D Printing Medical Advances

30 July 2021

Modern medical advances in 3D printing offer real, practical medical solutions, including the production of living tissue, custom anatomical models, and low-cost manufacturing of surgical devices. During the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for certain medical devices, including personal protective equipment (PPE), exceeded the supply available in India. India recognizes that companies can seek innovative manufacturing approaches to manufacture PPE for medical personnel, including 3D printing, to respond to increased demand and general global supply disruptions for these products. The industry is also developing rapidly. These revolutionary applications are worth being excited about as they represent a new era in healthcare: anatomy, structures, and devices can be tailored to each patient based on their unique physiology.

At the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, a shortage of personal protective equipment can be felt around the world, even though traditional face masks are not even enough to provide complete protection from the 0.125 SARS-CoV-2, microns. Medical staff, more than any other sector, is most affected by this shortage due to their close contact with the infected, and at this time of crisis and scarcity, alternative and a typical solution is needed to ensure the protection of those who are primarily against this disease. One solution is the manufacture of reusable 3D printed personal protective equipment (PPE) along with appropriate disposable filtration.

 

What is 3D printing? Uses of it in healthcare

Unlike traditional methods where products are made by shaping raw material into a final shape by carving, grinding, or moulding, 3D printing is an additive manufacturing technique that creates three-dimensional objects by building up successive layers of material. The objects are made from a digital file rendered from a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer-aided design (CAD) drawing so that the manufacturer can easily make changes or customize the product as they wish how layers are applied and what materials? There are a variety of 3D printers in the market, from inexpensive models that are aimed at the consumer and can print small and simple parts to commercial models. For example, manufacturers have used 3D printing technologies to create devices with complex geometries, such as prosthetic knees with a porous structure that can facilitate tissue growth and integration. 3D printing also provides the ability to create a complete product or device component. To create customized products based on the patient's anatomy. Examples are joint replacements, cranial implants, and dental restorations.

 

5 Benefits of 3D printing

 

1) Production of PPE

Against the background of the Corona pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) is a hot topic. It is well known that manufacturers are struggling to keep up with global demand for PPE and it is clear that lives are at stake. In response to the pandemic, several new 3D printed PPE designs have hit the market. 3D-printed face masks are available on a variety of open-source online 3D printing platforms. The rapid spread of Covid-19 has put major pressure on healthcare systems around the world with a growing demand for critical medical devices and consumables. Major manufacturers and individuals have responded to the Covid-19 crisis by supporting the production of vital medical devices. Unfortunately, the public is largely unaware of these possible solutions and can also be intimidated by a lack of information on the integration of scientifically appropriate filters. The aim of this whitepaper is to provide the information necessary to easily build effective 3D printed masks. Not all 3D printed PPEs provide the same level of protection as traditional manufacturing materials, but in terms of the immediate and necessary global demand facing COVID-19, this is a step forward.

 

2) Medical Device

Compared to the task of designing complex cellular structures such as hearts or bones, medical 3D printing tools sound like a breeze, and while there are still many challenges to overcome, researchers in this area are making great strides. 3D printed medical tools like the scalpel, Handles, tweezers, are common these days, but these are just the beginning. Just a few years ago, a team of students from the University of British Columbia won the Joel Burt Award 2014 for their innovative surgical smoke evacuator. In addition, researchers at the University of Arizona were able to 3D print a fully sterile retractor in just 90 minutes. This efficiency, combined with the low cost of 3D printed medical tools (only 1/10 the cost of stainless steel equivalents) makes 3D printing an interesting area of study to lower the cost of surgical equipment and even expand medical access low income and disadvantaged areas worldwide.

 

3) Organ Printing

One of the most exciting uses of 3D printing human tissue is in full organ replacement. This kind of medical advancement in 3D printing is having huge implications, including eliminating the shortage of organs for transplant and much better organ transplant results. As of February 2020, more than 111,000 people are waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the United States alone, and while researchers have not yet been able to reproduce whole organs for transplant, they are making progress. Laboratory settings that match the physiological characteristics of the donor patient, an important step in restoring 3D printed human hearts. This is just one example of how 3D printing software is helping take medical research to the point where we can create implantable medical structures. Although there are many problems that need to be solved in order for complex organs (like the heart or liver) to be 3D printed and then transplanted to a patient, simple organs like the bladder have been transplanted into patients since the early 2000s.

 

4) Personalized and regenerative medicine

3D printing offers a completely new opportunity for the development and manufacture of personalized drugs on both a pharmaceutical and an industrial scale. The introduction of 3D printers in pharmacies and hospitals would enable doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to create a delivery and dosage system that is oriented towards the patient's body that is height, age, lifestyle, and gender. This would make the drug personal to the patient, and it would save money and resources as well. Adecia Pharmaceuticals is the only company with an approved 3D printed pharmaceutical product.

Regenerative medicine spans many different fields and uses scaffolding, biomaterials, cells, or a combination of biomaterials and cells to try to make organs for transplant rather than relying on the current donor model. Soft biomaterials such as living cells and synthetic biomimetic polymers have been the most demanding technological advances in this area.

 

5) Stem cells

Stem cells are a promising area of study in numerous medical fields, and 3D printing is at the fore. Because of their regenerative properties, stem cells are printed in laboratories across the country for a variety of medical and surgical applications. For example, consider recent research from Texas. A&M University, where scientists combined 3D drawing technology with bioprinting and stem cells to create bespoke bone grafts. These grafts have the potential to enable rapid bone growth and custom bone structures without the need for titanium implants. It has revolutionized the way doctors view craniofacial implants and bone regeneration.

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