3D Printing and Healthcare

By now you’ve probably seen some amazing things created with 3D printers, all the way from parts for airplanes to zebra figurines. The possibilities are endless, and it’s only getting more amazing every day. And more and more, 3D printing is making it into the world of healthcare.

For example, recently Robert Downey, Jr. provided seven-year-old Alex Pring with a 3D printed prosthetic arm inspired by the Iron Man series. 3D printing reduced the cost from a whopping $40k down to a mere $350! Limbitless Solutions has big plans to help kids like Alex all around the world.

3D printing is not as new to healthcare as you might think. In fact, it has been a part of certain industries such as the hearing aid market for several years. If you want to join this industry, EnvisionTEC offers a range of printer models, uses biomedically approved materials to match skin tones, and promises to print out one ear mold or shell every three minutes!

3D printers are certainly making life more enjoyable, and they may eventually help people to live longer! Recent announcements predict that 3D printers will soon be able to create life-saving organs such as hearts and livers. Bioprinting is working on perfecting the technology to print human organs using the fat cells of the patient.

Life-saving 3D printed organs are about 20 years out, though currently, bioprinting is making life more fulfilling for women who survive breast cancer. TeVido BioDevices uses a woman’s own living cells to create custom grafts for breast cancer reconstruction surgery.

Get ready! It’s predicted that tissue engineering and dental implants will boost the 3D printing healthcare market to $1.2 billion by 2020! While the ethics of all this may be debatable, it appears that 3D printing in healthcare is here to stay.

Robyn Warner
Robyn Warner has been writing since she learned how to hold a pen. She wrote her first book of poems before the age of 10. Though creative writing is her preference, she is enjoying life in the technical blog world. Robyn’s goal in her 30s is to use her writing to inspire fellow cancer survivors and have a job that gives her the flexibility to live anywhere and never wear shoes.

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