One of the biggest industries in the world is the medical field. The medical field is one of the major industries that has been and will continue to be affected by the emergence of 3D printing. There are a multitude of uses for 3D printing in the medical field. These uses could make healthcare more cost effective and just effective in general. Granted it might slow down some people business. One place 3D printing could be of a huge assistance in the medical field is in healing broken bones. Currently plaster casts are annoying, smelly and itchy. They seem so outdated. 3D printing could play a big role in Orthopedic healing. Researchers have designed a prototype that allows for some cast to be 3D printed. These 3D printed casts could help heal bones up to 40 percent faster than regular plaster casts. Low intensity pulsed ultrasound helps heals bones faster but is difficult to administer because of the complexities involving putting the sensors directly on the skin of the patients. This would be impossible with classical plaster mold casts because they cover all the skin surrounding the injured or broken area and don’t leave any openings for direct skin contact with the ultrasound machine. The new proposed 3D printed casts could alleviate this problem though. The proposed cast would leave parts of the arm uncovered allowing for the ultrasound machine direct access to the skin in between the cast. Along with these casts, splints have been modeled and proposed to help arthritis sufferers. These splints could help these arthritis sufferers immensely by providing pain relief, rest and joint protection.
Another relevant 3D printing technology is the uses of 3d printed splints to help infants who have trouble breathing breathe. Some babies are born with weaker trachea’s making it more difficult for that infant to breathe and easier for them to suffocate. These 3D printed splints are very efficient in that they help the trachea grow stronger and once it is strong enough to work on its own the splint will dissolve into the body, relieving the need for surgery to remove the splint. The material used to create these splints is a Polycaprolactone and is completely bio-compatible. Another reason these splints were so successful is the speed they were able to be developed, implemented and used. 3D printing allows for rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing. There is no waiting around for production time. 3D printing also allows for efficient customization of distinct patient’s needs. 3D printing also allows for the capability of reducing cost for medical procedures. Another use of 3D printing in the medical field is the printing of prosthetics. Not only a reduced cost on those prosthetics but also a more efficient means of acquiring those prosthetics and allowing for extremely customizable prosthetics. The possible medical uses of 3D printing are endless.
1) “A 3D Printed Cast That Can Heal Your Bones 40-80% Faster | TechCrunch.”TechCrunch. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2014.
2) “3D-printed Splints May Make Life Better for Arthritis Sufferers.” Ars Technica. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2014.
3) “Babies Who Couldn’t Breathe Fitted with Revolutionary ‘throat Splint’ – Made on a 3D PRINTER.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 04 Aug. 2014.