3 Major Advances in 3D Printing and Medical Equipment

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3 Major Advances in 3D Printing and Medical Equipment

Among all the professional branches, medicine is the sector where most often uses innovative 3D printing technologies. Medical 3D printing is considered an emerging area that explores ways to replace or help existing biological structures. It is an era where 3D printing monopolizes in the most significant number of hands-on biomedical equipment services. However, this flood of news has caused an inevitable bubble in the expectations deposited in the technology of additive manufacturing, and the reality is that we have not yet reached that moment in which we can print a complete bionic human being.

Therefore, we want to review those advancements in medicine that 3D printing does possible, at this time, and whose possibilities are already offered to be applied and integrated into any medical service that wishes, whether hospitals, clinics or research institutes.

  1. Medical Equipment

3D printers are a new resource, as they would avoid the need for stocks: whether you need a specific tool or if you need to make several copies of a piece, you can print them on the same day. It is not an easy job, but neither it is impossible. Thus, the democratization of personal 3D printers has made it possible to help cheaply and effectively an isolated population that still does not have the resources to access the latest advances in medicine.

  • Specific and Customized Surgical Material

In surgery, all operations must be prepared and adapted to the particular case of the patient, so sometimes, surgeons need personalized tools. However, the manufacture of these pieces costs time and is difficult with traditional means. These two problems are essential in the field that concerns us, since they reduce the freedom of action of the surgeon during the operation, by diminishing his capacity of reaction and his availability for the patient. Thanks to the acquisition of skills in 3D modeling, surgical tools can be personalized in a file that can then be printed.

If the doctor or hospital had their 3D printer, they could access a 3D printing service. The tools could be prepared in a day, tailored to the patient’s body. The printed pieces are used to guide the surgeon and ensure that the implants are placed in the proper position. Also, it should be noted that the material is biocompatible and can be sterilized if necessary while being strong enough to support a wide range of uses while remaining flexible in the thinnest areas of the design. 3D printing could give a twist to how the diagnostic image is used.

  • Custom Medications

Patients who have to take a large number of medications, sometimes 5 or 6 pills at a time for different health problems, have to face an additional challenge: that these pills are not effective simultaneously. On the other hand, the manufacture of medicines in large quantities with standardized doses, as in the current industry, may not be suitable for everyone. This makes pharmacological administration one of the fields that most require important advances in medicine.

Among the advantages of these drugs printed in 3D we highlight the following:

•    By joining powdered compounds between liquid materials at the microscopic level, 3D printed tablets can be extremely porous, which means that they dissolve quickly in contact with liquids and are easier for children, disabled or suffering from pain to swallow.

•    By altering the surface with complex shapes, doctors can control the potency of the active ingredient, as well as the time in which it will be released.

•    Algorithms can take into account biological factors to optimize dosage and components, increasing effectiveness and reducing side effects.

•    You can create small batches based on individual preferences of color, taste, tablet size.

•    Manufacturers can divert production and distribution to consumers. Hospitals could even manufacture drugs on demand, eliminating the need to store large quantities of generic formulas.

•    Specific medications for each patient could be produced at home, reducing waiting times and saving lives in emergencies.

•    Medical training and training: surgery with 3D printed models

•    Any surgical operation must be prepared before it is carried out.

Currently, doctors use 2D and 3D images to understand the anatomical details of their patients. The possibility of creating 3D files based on magnetic resonance or computerized tomography allows surgeons to create close to real organs to practice their operations.

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