The Impact of 3D Printers on the Medical Industry

By on Oct 18, 2012 in Gadgets |

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The leaps and bounds made by technology in the recent past have yielded some truly innovative results and many of these things are changing our lives as we know it. Fields important to the survival of the human race like science and medicine are benefiting in a huge way from these advancements in technology, and the medical field has especially been using some of the newest and most advanced devices to improve the way it goes about saving lives and curing diseases. Some of the newest innovations are making truly incredible possibilities a reality, and according to some experts it’s only a matter of time before the medical industry is able to perform truly incredible feats like growing and producing full organs that can be used by patients who need them the most. 3D printing is one of these particularly recent developments that has seen more and more use by the medical community. We’ll talk about the ways that 3D printing has impacted the medical field as a whole, and how it’s allowing doctors and nurses to save lives on more efficient levels than ever before.

3D printing can actually mean a few different things, and as such the term is more reserved for a practices than it is for an actual product or specific process. 3D printing originated within the last decade or so, and since its introduction the technology has evolved rapidly, seeing use in an incredibly wide variety of different industries and practices. Three-dimensional printers can create a solid model of just about any object, and do so by using digital imaging to map out a fully-formed representation of whatever subject is chosen. By a process that’s referred to as additive, the printer will then create a model of whatever the subject was. This additive process means that instead of being molded to create a shape, the materials are shaped by layering on top of one another until the desired form is created.

This technique has been used in a number of industries, and the medical field has been able to harness it to great effect. 3D printing is used in a number of vital and life-saving process, such as creating tiny components for intricate devices and machinery that can help people live longer and function healthier. 3D printing is also used for modeling and imaging organs, prosthetics, and a number of other things professionals must interact with. While the ability to essentially “print” an organ using this technology is a few years away, it exists on the horizon nevertheless, and represents some of the truly amazing capabilities of modern technology.

While 3D printing no longer makes use of toner cartridges, it’s becoming a more and more common tool in an increasing number of fields. Recent medical advancements made with the help of 3D printing have enabled doctors to save countless lives, and it’s exciting to think about what kind of capabilities our doctors and nurses will have just a few years in the future.