Given the speed at which science and technology have evolved in the past few decades, it’s not surprising to hear about and even own things that used to be figments of your imagination. If you had to put up with a bulky mobile phone with a retractable antenna during the 1980s, you probably now enjoy the benefits of a lightweight and convenient smartphone. When it comes to the manufacturing industry and the medical field, however, 3D printing technology is a key innovation everyone is raving about and rooting for.

3d-printed-kidneys--take-small-steps-toward-organ-replacements

3D Printing for Medicine: The Next Big Thing?

The applications of 3D printing could either be banal or amazing, but an article from LiveScience.com written by Jeremy Hsu proves that the technology, when applied in the medical setting, is both extraordinary and promising.

Researchers hope that new generations of 3D printers can use living human cells to build replacement organs layer by layer — especially organs such as livers, hearts and kidneys.

The kidney represents a special challenge for 3D printing, because of its detailed, tiny structures […]. Bioprinting researchers hope to take advantage of the self-organizing tendencies of stem cells extracted from patients to fill in the missing details […]

A 3D-printed kidney, like other 3D-printed replacement organs, likely won’t become a reality within the next 10 or 15 years, researchers say. But they plan to use the simplified, miniature versions of 3D-printed organs created so far as guinea pigs for pharmaceutical drug testing […]

3D printing, or to be more accurate, “bioprinting” organs, may be a bit far off into the future, but 3D printers still have an important role in the medical field. Here are some of them:

Prosthetics

There was a time when individuals in need of artificial limbs had to make do with crude and ill-fitting devices. Thanks to 3D printing, manufacturers of prosthetics can speedily create prototypes, try out ideas, and eventually come up with customized products for their clients – all without spending inordinate time and resources.

Surgical Guides

3D-printed surgical guides are a big help to doctors in the operating room. For instance, established companies like Objex Unlimited that offer medical model making in Mississauga and Toronto, can come up with 3D models of bones or other body organs that physicians can study and practice on.

Without a doubt, 3D technology used by design engineers and even hobbyists to create scale models in Toronto for various thingamabobs offers a lot of positive opportunities for many industries. The only question now is: How long will the world have to wait until this technology fulfills all its marvelous promises?

(Article Excerpt and Image from 3D-Printed Kidneys Take Small Steps Toward Organ Replacements, LiveScience, November 25, 2013)

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