Today, using 3D metal printing, cobalt-based alloys, titanium alloys, tantalum, and other special alloys can be employed for knee or hip arthroplasty, producing completely customized prosthetics.
FREMONT, CA: In the past, doctors had to count exclusively on 2-dimensional MRI or CT scans to prepare for surgery. If a 3D simulation was considered necessary to practice for a surgical procedure, they employed generic wax molds or cadavers. Currently, using medical imaging data and a 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) model, a precise 3D printed model, for instance, of a patient’s face or hand can be created, authorizing the surgeon to fine-tune a procedure before performing the surgery.
However, this is just one minor part of the ongoing progression in the personalization of surgical procedures made possible by 3D printing. Over the past decade, 3D printing has begun to qualify personalized surgery in numerous critical ways: 3D models for surgical planning, patient-specific body implants, and customized surgical instruments.
Today, using 3D metal printing, cobalt-based alloys, titanium alloys, tantalum, and other special alloys can be employed for knee or hip arthroplasty, producing completely customized prosthetics. Besides, it is not just patient-specific implants that can be made. The instruments can be made according to every patient’s anatomy or each doctor’s unique requirements, from surgical planning tools to custom surgical devices. The medical industry has always desired affordable, reliable instruments but was confronted by the fact that no two patients are alike and treatment needs vary. By facilitating the creation of customized devices, 3D printing empowers a far more personalized surgical process. Moreover, the next generation of additive manufacturing and medicine will probably involve using advanced compositions and the gradation of diverse materials to augment functionality.
Furthermore, the industry is also on the cusp of using bioprinting to make artificial organs on demand. Over 113,000 people are currently on transplant waiting lists in the U.S. alone, and even those who receive organs need treatment with immunosuppressants and face possible organ rejection.
While the field is a few years away from a practical application of this technology, soon, the need for live organ transplants will be replaced by bioprinted organs formed from a patient’s own cells. Even though in its inception, bioprinting has already established the potential to change medicine. Along with with3D printed models, and tailored surgical tools, future surgery will contain a personalization level unheard of just a few years ago.