Very few up-and-coming innovations excite people the way 3-D printing does, whether you’re talking about its current capabilities or its amazing potential. Now that technology has met “soft” needs such as communication and information-gathering, the next step is creating technology capable of manipulating the physical world — a capability that 3-D printing in medicine seems to already display. The technology is already simplifying, expediting, and improving medicine in astounding ways, and has even more impressive advancements on the horizon.
Prosthetic limbs, though having great potential in 3-D printing, are just a few of the countless body parts this new technology could reproduce. 3-D printing in medicine is the innovation the healthcare industry has been waiting for, with its ability to print nearly any three-dimensional object. The same fact makes it possible for 3-D-printed body parts to be easily manipulated to fit the wide variety of shapes and sizes that the human body comes in. What makes the technology for things like prosthetic skin, hearing aid moulds, and dental and orthopaedic implants perfect is its flexibility, adaptability, and compatibility with numerous printing materials.
With three-dimensional printing now using digital scans to create custom implants that bond with the patient’s own facial bones, the technology has also shown potential for bone replication. Other, in-development solutions work as a sort of high-flexibility bone-grafting agent, providing a highly adaptable “scaffold” on which bones can integrate and grow.