The topic of 3D printing has caught the imaginations of people throughout the manufacturing industry. The possibilities that this new production method presents seem endless, but it’s not just the manufacturing industry that is going to benefit from this advent. Medical science will be making big leaps forward. These advances will come from not only the 3D printing of medical devices, but also the printing of body parts for patients in need of transplants.
Medical devices are held to an extremely high standard by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the organization is sorting out how to go about approving devices created by 3D printers. Fox News reports that the FDA is looking into some of the remarkable things done with this new method of production, from a 3D-printed tracheal splint used to save a newborn’s life to an implant which replaced 75 percent of a man’s skull.
This new development has changed the way implants and devices are created, but the real impact 3D printing could have on the industry is with printed body parts, called bioprinters. “If you have a compass and a straight edge, everything you draw is a box or a circle,” said DEKA Research & Development founder Dean Kamen according to Popsci. “When you get better tools, you start thinking in different ways. We now have the ability to play at a level we couldn’t play at before.”
What can be done with 3D printing in medical science seems limitless. Popsci even goes as far as to note the possibility that bioprinters could extend the capabilities of the human body. Whether 3D printing is reimagining the way people think of the human condition, or making it easier for patients to gain access to devices they need to lead healthy lives, this technology is having an amazing effect on the medical industry.