POC manufacturing as a “non-traditional form of manufacturing referring to just-in-time creation of anatomical models, surgical instruments, prosthetics, scaffolds and other 3D-printed applications at the place of patient care based on their personal medical imaging data.
Just days ago it was announced that a 3D printed guide developed by researchers in Minnesota could help facilitate the regrowth of damaged nerves within the human body. In the wake of this exciting breakthrough, is another progressive use for 3D printing within the medical world, as the same researchers have found a way to release biomolecules into the body through a 3D printed scaffold with more precision than ever before.
Last month, we covered news of Dr. Tarek Loubani’s Glia Project, which seeks to bring 3D printed medical equipment to the areas that need it most–starting with the much-beleaguered Gaza Strip. The incredible stethoscope he developed is able to be created at extreme cost savings and in a fraction of standard production time thanks to 3D printing technology.
3D printing has a plethora of uses when it comes to body modification and functionality. We have seen a variety of assistive prosthetic devices, medical tools, and perhaps most excitingly, engineering geared toward exploring and repairing the inner workings of our bodies. One group of Japanese-based researchers have utilized bioprinting to create scaffold-free tubular tissues made of multicellular spheroids (MCS), which are composed of approximately 40% human umbilical vein endothelial cells, 10% human aortic smooth muscle cells, and 50% normal human dermal fibroblasts. The team produced 500 robotically configured and 3D printed MCS-based tubular tissues around the structure of a needle, which acts as the necessary scaffold support needed in the early stages of creation.
Many recent advancements in the medical world are linked to the ever growing developments and applications of 3D printing technologies. From hearing aids and dental devices, to hip and knee replacements, to the bourgeoning field of bio printing, additive manufacturing continues to influence and facilitate medical breakthroughs.
Synopsis: Together, the Michigan State University, the University of Maryland, and Chonnam National University in South Korea created a new 3D printed smartphone modification which can measure BP right from your finger.
Why does this not matter? In March of 2017 - Apple stores started selling a high-tech, wireless cuff that lets users monitor your blood pressure through a sleek app on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
Why does this matter: For those of us with high blood pressure, this is neat SMALL device that we welcome to the consumer market. Stay tuned!
Because of the expense involved with creating most artificial limbs, especially legs, there tends to be a uniformity and utilitarianism in design that make them all look alike. So while prosthetic limbs generally function for both men and women, more men tend to have limbs amputated than women, so most prostheses end up working more for men than women. Not only do they not look the way that a woman may want her prosthesis to look, but quite often they simply don’t work for some of the unique needs of a female amputee.
3D printing has already proved itself time and again as an excellent and affordable technology for manufacturing basic prosthetics, but even in that field there are few limitations. For one, typical materials as ABS and PLA aren’t exactly suitable for manufacturing leg prosthetics, while makers have struggled to add more than a simple gripping function to most prosthetics. That’s just a few of the reasons why are so impressed by the creation of the limbU, a prosthetic smart leg developed by student Troy Baverstock that is absolutely packed with sensors for personal activities and for medical rehabilitation.
Researchers at MIT’s biomechatronics group are developing a non-invasive tool that can sense the soft-tissue properties in human limbs, measuring which areas are softer or harder due to bones, muscles or nerves. This data can then be used to 3D print custom sockets for prosthetic-wearers, greatly decreasing the pain and discomfort associated with traditional, hand-made models.
Although we have been zooming in on bioprinting lately, our understanding of the possibilities it offers is still limited. In fact, if you think things are confusing in the industrial additive manufacturing sector, the applications of 3D printing in the medical field – although possibly even more promising – are still even more unclear and hard to classify. Let alone those specific to the bioengineering and regenerative medicine segment.
For you smokers out there - "The 3D printed medical models, which were based on CT scans and MRIs of patients suffering from lung cancer, reportedly enabled surgeons to better prepare for tumor removal surgeries and helped to reduce the overall operation times."
Bioprinting is widely considered to be an integral part of the future of medical science. We have taken some incredible strides forward in developing applicable bioprinting technologies, but we are still in the very early stages of creating real, usable bioprinted material. While researchers are currently testing the viability of bioprinted objects like human ears, soft structures that have little to no internal support are still difficult if not impossible to print. Specifically small cellular structures like organs and human venous systems tend to collapse under their own weight before they can become viable.
In 1996, the Spice Girls told us that ‘tonight is the night where two become one’, but one fortunate family have good reason to celebrate a night where one became two. Additive manufacturing is regularly used to save time, money and the environment, but relatively few people can claim to have had their lives saved by it. Tyler and Tyson Proctor, a pair of formerly conjoined twins whose life-saving operation was helped by the use of 3D-printed models, have celebrated their 1st birthday in the hospital in which they were operated upon.
Recently, at the 18th annual Pet Fair Asia, an international trade fair for pet supplies, all eyes were on a young Alaskan malamute named Yogo. Excited and happy, Yogo was like all the other dogs, playing and running around, save for one thing: his customized 3D printed prosthetic leg.
As regular readers will have noticed, 3D printing is already becoming a huge hit in hospitals throughout the world for its ability to produce accurate surgery replicas that help doctors prepare properly. However, the real revolution must surely be in the bioprinting of transplantable tissues, a field in which a team of San Francisco scientists have just shared a breakthrough technique to 3D print tiny models of human tissue for use in drug screening, cancer research and eventually even complete transplantable organs.
Medical applications of 3D printing technology seem to be bursting into hospitals everywhere to save lives and deal with complex situations. While some biomedical applications have been succesful, most of these are relatively simple: 3D print an exact replica of the problem area to carefully prepare surgery and increase success rates. What’s more, a surprising number of these solutions seem to take place in China, where neurosurgeons in the Fujian Medical University are even applying this concept to very complex brain surgeries to deal with intracranial aneurysm patients. Since 2014, they have dealt with about 10 patients this way, recently tackling another.