Since the early 1990s, technology has revolutionized how we do everyday things from business, education, to medicine. A plethora of technological advancements up until this point have radicalized how we do things, especially in medicine. 3D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, is groundbreaking and its positive influences are not letting up any time soon. If any case, 3D will continue to change medicine as more advancements emerge. Here are four ways in which 3D is changing the future of modern medicine:
Printing Body Parts
Waiting around for body parts like eyes is an ardors process that is not only costly but time-consuming at the expense of needy patients. Scientists are presently working on printing body parts such as plastic skulls and synthetic ears to help patients in need. Manchester Metropolitan University declared that it can print a whopping 150 prosthetic eyes per hour! This remarkable achievement will bring reprieve to millions of patients battling eyesight issues.
Reaching Marginalized Populations
The world is rife with all kinds of problems and most impactful ones revolve around health care or lack thereof. Many places in the Global South are still lagging behind in terms of healthcare such that even the most basic medicines are scarce. As a result, many lives are lost and this further weighs heavily on local economies. 3D food printers can surpass barriers of accessibility to nutritional foods that can boost immune systems of children and the sick. This feat will contribute immensely to the Sustainable Development Goals of developing nations.
Production of Biomaterials
Organ transplant has been a huge challenge in medicine even in developed nations where medicine is quite advanced. 3D technology will print biomaterials for internal organs like kidneys and the heart. More so, scientists will venture into producing living cells that can operate normally in human bodies. Printing fully-functional organs will not just do away with waiting lists but also curb the illegal trade of organ trafficking. The World Health Organization surmises that nearly 10% of all 63,000 kidneys transplanted globally from existing donors are obtained through unlawful means. Hopefully, 3D printing will curtail such despicable acts.
Procuring medical equipment is one of the biggest challenges of hospitals in developing countries. Even the most basic equipment is not forthcoming let alone state-of-the-art equipment that could save lives. 3D printing is already solving this longstanding problem by developing equipment that is specially tailored to suit the human anatomy. Moreover, the use of open source engineering eliminates accessibility barrier and what’s more, these devices will be considerably cheaper than previous ones.
The future of medicine is promising thanks to 3D technologies. Patients will have access to organs, hybrid medical devices, and drugs that will transform their lives for the better.