3D Printing and scanning is coming to medicine in a big way. It’s started off with the now common printing of hearing aids that fit perfectly into the ear canal (90% are now made this way) or making of perfect dental implants. Now it’s common to see advertisements related to 3D scanning and images for breast implants to be able to create super accurate before and after images. My wife even commented on hearing a radio advertisement in the Atlanta area a week ago for this. A lot of these applications are for cosmetic or comfort reasons, but there are things coming that could be truly lifesaving like printing whole organs! Medical is one of the largest and most profitable sector of 3D printing today. Here are some relevant articles about exciting things farther on the horizon:
Finally, here’s a great piece from the University of Iowa that summarizes the “printing of organs”! (Used with permission)
This is the “holy grail” of medical printing applications in my opinion. It’s heartbreaking to hear the stories of people waiting for donors that right now can only be satisfied through someone else’s tragedy. To be able to print an organ on demand with no fear of immune system rejection would be truly revolutionary!