Tuesday, September 7, 2021

3D Printing – Future of Digital Health

3d printing
3D printing has shown wonders in Digital Healthcare during the last few years and it is further evolving. When it comes to 3D printing biomaterials, it is also known as bio-printing. 3D printing is being used for creating personalized medical equipment at a lesser cost compared to conventional methods. This has a wide range of products from finger splints, plaster casts, orthopedic arm guards to production of microneedles in diabetes monitoring devices. With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 3D printing of medical equipment has been used in hospitals for creating personal protective equipment for treating COVID-19 patients.

3D printing is also used for health education and surgical training.  As an example, the researchers have used this technology to create 3D models of cancerous tumors to develop new anticancer drugs and also to train certain surgical procedures using these models. 3D printed organ models are used for medical education as well as pre-operational training in some of the leading institutions. 

Majority of people who undergo amputations do not have access to prosthesis because of the price and the lack of availability. However, with 3D printing, it can make access for cheap and easily customizable prosthesis. 

In healthcare, D printing is also used for tissue engineering. Research has been carried out for using this technology for creating blood vessels, missing bone pieces, teeth, heart valves, and even for replicating body parts like ears and nose. Currently, synthetic skin grafting is carried out for burn victims in some hospitals in the US. 

3D printing for the pharmaceutical industry will also be handy in the future as personalized medications for certain diseases are getting more attention. Also with 3D printing certain combinations of medicines can be delivered in a single pill which is known as "polypill". Although most of these are theoretically possible, there are certain challenges when it comes to mass production. With new developments in the IT field surely these challenges can be overcome. Therefore, it is obvious that 3D printing technology will do wonders in the Digital Healthcare field in the future serving the best to mankind.

Dr. Harsha Jayakody is a medical doctor and a healthcare entrepreneur, who has a special interest in artificial intelligence. Click here to read more about him.


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