3D printed organs for TV series Grey’s Anatomy!

A 3D Printed Heart and Liver Were Recently Featured on the Popular TV Series Grey’s Anatomy!

http://goo.gl/5AeOBh

Greys Anatomy 3d printer

Gray’s Anatomy, the textbook of human anatomy originally written by Henry Gray and illustrated by Henry Vandyke Carter, was widely regarded as the seminal work on the subject and it’s still revised and republished today.

Since its publication in 1858, it has served as a crucial guide to doctors and surgeons in their daily work, but it’s a safe bet that Gray and Carter didn’t see it coming that their work would one day influence hospital dramas like ABC’s hit “Grey’s Anatomy,” and less likely still that they’d foresee that show discovering 3D printing.

Now that 3D printing technology has reached into the operating theater,  the American consciousness, and even into living rooms in the heartland, Gray and Carter would surely be proud.

The doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial were featured using 3D printing in one episode from season 10 where Dr. Yang 3D prints a “portal vein,” and Dr. Grey attempts to 3D print a heart. In fact, at the end of that episode, Dr. Yang discovers that, on her trip to Switzerland, 3D printing is widely used by medical professionals there.

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One Dr. Burke goes as far as to say Dr. Yang’s dream is to build fully-functional, 3D printed hearts.

And the series is at it again with an appearance from a CubeX 3D printer which the Grey’s staff used to build a customized heart and liver model. The model of a patient’s heart and liver used on the show was designed and 3D printed by 3D Systems in conjunction with their entertainment division, Gentle Giant Studios, and it was printed by their medical solutions division,Medical Modeling.

Medical Modeling was built on the idea that medical imaging studies could be used for diagnosis and to drive clinical treatment, and they’ve developed surgical planning and clinical transfer tools. To date, the company has worked with surgeons around the world on tens of thousands of cases. They were also acquired by 3DS in April 2014, becoming part of the larger 3D printing revolution.

At this stage, engineering-based solutions for reconstructive surgical problemsare a part of the standard medical tool kit, and customized prosthetics are common.

greys-anatomy

Medical Modeling says 3D printing is used in hospitals around the world for applications ranging from surgical pre-visualization to treatment planning and training.

To make the heart model, the team used a ProJet 660Pro, taking the idea from a photo of a simple sketch on a napkin to a fully-printed model in just four days.

3DS says the anatomically correct, full-color model needed to fit the script, appear life-like, and be fully 3D printable. The creation process took place through a number of design iterations during which the “Grey’s Anatomy” production team reviewed the models and provided feedback, and the Medical Modeling team used Geomagic Freeform software to create the finished product.

Now that prime-time television has embraced the medical uses of 3D printing, how long do you think it will be before patients are asking to see models to help them understand their treatment options? Let us know in the Grey’s Anatomy Medical 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | FEBRUARY 9, 2015
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3D printed cervical spine

After over 20 years of being told he was wrong, one man’s determination and his knowledge of 3D design and printing led to him being proven right!

If this technology had been available in the late 80’s when the incident occurred, he would have been spared all the pain and misdiagnoses from doctors that, ultimately, were all wrong! :-/

http://3dprint.com/22685/3d-printed-cervical-spine/

3D Print of Heathcotes Spine

Medical advancements are leading the way in prolonging life, reducing pain, and ultimately increasing the overall quality of living for the average person. It is technology such as 3D imaging and 3D printing that is making much of these advancements possible.

More than twenty years ago, a man named Paul Heathcote, who you may remember from a story we did on him last week, was the victim of a brutal assault. Heathcote has been complaining of pain ever since, yet doctors had not been able to tell him what was wrong. Unlike most people, however, he didn’t take his doctors’ diagnosis, or lack thereof, as a final answer.

“Since the assault, I have been complaining about aches and pains in my head, neck, shoulders, arms and experiencing pins & needles in both hands,” Heathcote tells 3DPrint.com. “Rather strangely the two same fingers on each hand sometimes go completely numb and stick together until I move my head around and I get feeling back in them. Once again, despite seeing several consultants and having numerous x-rays, scans and tests, the clinicians were unable to tell me what was actually causing my problems.”

Heathcote knew that there was something wrong, and that he wasn’t exactly imagining that he was experiencing pain. So he did a 3D reconstruction of a CT scan that was taken of his shoulders, and noticed something quite strange about a piece of his 1st thoracic vertebra, but when he brought up his findings to a doctor, that doctor’s reaction was not what he had expected.

“I pointed out what I had seen and she told me it was ‘an old displaced fracture of the transverse process of my 1st thoracic vertebra,’” Heathcote explained. “Curiously she then decided that she didn’t want to see me again and discharged me from her clinic and back to my doctor.”

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Now Heathcote was starting to get a complex. While his findings did prove something was wrong, and the doctor backed him up, he was beginning to feel a bit hopeless. Then about a year later, he had a CT scan done of his complete cervical spine, in order to see if there was anything else the doctors had failed to tell him. After creating yet another 3D reconstruction, he noticed several more of what he thought were abnormalities of his spine. He proceeded to print off some images and take them, along with a copy of the CT scan, to his doctor. The doctor told him that it was now evident that he had sustained multiple avulsion fractures and subluxations of his cervical spine during the brutal 1988 incident. Heathcote was immediately referred to the spinal department at his local hospital.

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“I saw yet another consultant specializing in cervical spine problems,” Healthcote tells us. “The consultant confirmed my doctor’s diagnosis but told me that it was too late to do anything now. Surgery was not indicated and he discharged me from his clinic. The 3D print of my cervical spine that was done this year allows me to see all the fractures and subluxations the doctors identified in great detail. Knowing and being able to see what is actually causing my pain, means that I can attempt to manage my painful symptoms a little better, but things are still not good at all.”

Unfortunately for Heathcote, this technology was not available to anyone back in 1988, when the incident occurred. If it had been, more than likely doctors would have discovered the problem areas in his spine and elected to do surgery to repair these problems. Thanks though to Heathcote’s determination in not simply relying on doctors to diagnose his problems, and his knowledge of 3D technology such as 3D imagining and 3D printing, he can now at least try his best to manage his pain, and perhaps one day a solution will be had.

What do you think about Heathcote’s determination, and the doctors’ lack thereof? Discuss in the 3D printed cervical spine forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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3DPRINT.COM
by  | NOVEMBER 5, 2014

3D printed knee implants

Customisable knee implants? 3D printing’s got that covered! 🙂

http://boston.cbslocal.com/…/bedford-company-using-3d-prin…/

Knee replacement X-ray. (WBZ-TV)

BOSTON (CBS) – “We see a lot of knee injuries in here,” says Jeff Dosdall, a personal trainer and co-owner of Bodyscapes in Wellesley. “They’ve got arthritis. They’ve got overuse injuries, and the knees start to wear out on you.” Even for some people in their 30s and 40s, and a lot of folks end up having surgery.

Knee replacement is the most common joint replacement worldwide. Providing huge relief, most of the time.

Dr. Philipp Lang, CEO and co-founder of ConforMIS, a medical device company in Bedford, says about a quarter of patients aren’t happy with their results. “They have pain, limited range of motion, the knee doesn’t feel natural,” says Dr. Lang.

So ConforMIS is changing that. It’s the only company in the world that is making knee replacement implants that are completely tailored to each individual patient.

Using CT imaging, special computer software, and 3D printer technology, scientists produce a unique knee implant and customized surgical instruments, designed for one patient and only that patient.

“This fits exactly to your patient,” explains Dr. Lang. “It brings back your individual knee, the shape of your knee, the curvature of your knee and should move like a normal knee.”

No two knees are the same and off the shelf implants come in a limited number of sizes. A bad fit, says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joseph Czarnecki of Excel Orthopedics in Woburn, can cause more bleeding and swelling. “I’ve seen more with the ConforMIS knee that’s there’s a quicker return to range of motion for most patients,” says Dr. Czarnecki. “There doesn’t tend to be as much swelling and not as much pain in the hospital because this is matched to their bone.”

Mary Cowles of Westminster had a traditional knee replacement back in 2001 and a ConforMIS implant in her other knee just three months ago. She says there’s no comparison. “Time-wise in the hospital, less time,” Cowles says. “Physical therapy was much easier. I got movement so much faster. If I didn’t see the scar on it, I would assume it was my normal knee.”

The ConforMIS implants are covered by insurance and generally aren’t more expensive. The company says they plan to make other joints, like shoulders and hips. And they’re the first company to receive FDA approval for 3D printing in metal.

BOSTON.CBSLOCAL.COM
by Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TV | October 17, 2014 11:21 PM

3D printed baby’s heart

Another medical marvel brought about by 3D printing! A two-week old infant’s life saved as a 3D printed replica of the baby’s heart was used to assist in complicated heart surgery! 🙂

http://www.independent.co.uk/…/3d-printed-heart-saves-babys…

Surgeons at a New York hospital have credited 3D printing with helping to save the life of a 2-week-old baby who required complicated heart surgery.

Surgeons at a New York hospital have credited 3D printing with helping to save the life of a 2-week-old baby who required complicated heart surgery.

Using MRI scan data, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York City 3D printed a copy of the child’s heart, which was both riddled with holes and structured unusually.

Surgery was going to be complicated and dangerous, but this 3D printed heart provided the surgeons the opportunity to study the organ, and develop a detailed surgery strategy.

“The baby’s heart had holes, which are not uncommon with CHD, but the heart chambers were also in an unusual formation, rather like a maze,” Dr Emile Bacha, who performed the surgery,told Connecticut local media.

“In the past we had to stop the heart and look inside to decide what to do. With this technique, it was like we had a road map to guide us. We were able to repair the baby’s heart with one operation.”

The project was funded by Matthew’s Hearts of Hope, a Connecticut –based foundation.

They have said that another 3D printed heart is in the making, with details to follow in the next month.

Marie Hatcher, the foundation’s founder, told The Independent:“This is a game changer for CHD babies with complicated heart anatomy.

Normally the first time the surgeon sees the heart is when the chest is open, now they have the ability to plan out the surgery ahead of time while looking at a 3 D Heart of the baby or child’s heart.”

This is yet another example of 3D printing coming to the fore of cutting-edge medical technology. Just the other day, Kentucky surgeon Erle Austin also credited 3D printing with improving the odds of succeeding in the most difficult surgeries, reports Wired.

“I’m using 3D printing to help me understand a complicated heart,” he told Maker Faire in Rome.

Like the team at Morgan Stanley, Austin had used the technology to inform his approach to heart surgery on a young child at Kosair Children’s Hospital.

“If I went in and did surgery, took off the front of the heart and did irreparable damage, the child would not survive.”

Using an experimental version of the Makerbot Replicator 2, Austin printed a copy of the heart in three parts.

He said: “Because I have an identical reconstruction I can take off the front of the heart and see inside of it and make a plan as to how I’m going to direct the flow of blood and move the obstruction in the heart.”

INDEPENDENT.CO.UK

by ZACHARY DAVIES BOREN | 06 October 2014

3D printed kidneys

Thanks to innovative ink from Harvard’s Lewis Lab.

A 3D-printed battery the size of a grain of sand made its debut earlier this year, with the help of Harvard Professor Jennifer Lewis, a core faculty member at the Wyss Institute. To achieve the feat, Lewis and her team had to create specialized, “disappearing” inks — inks so unique they’re making more than microbatteries; they’re close to creating fully-functioning printed kidneys.

Jennifer Lewis spoke at the MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference Tuesday about microscale 3D printing. Harvard’s Lewis Lab is focused on the directed and self-assembly of soft functional materials, and has made progress in creating human tissues that include rudimentary blood vessels, all with a 3D printer.

The 3D printer builds the tissue in layers, as well as various types of cells and materials. Lewis’s team has constructed “hollow, tube-like structures within a mesh of printed cells using an ‘ink’ that liquefies as it cools,” according to the MIT Technology Review. Once liquefied, the ink can be removed with a light vacuum, leaving behind an empty channel to then be infused with the cells that normally line the body’s blood vessels.

At EmTech, Lewis said “her group is using the same approach to making the tubes inside kidneys that help filter blood.” The team is starting with kidneys, “because they account for 80 percent of the need for organ transplants.”

A lot of work still needs to be done until patients start receiving 3D-printed organs. On stage Tuesday, Lewis said there are still challenges in sustaining cells and keeping them viable as researchers are printing.

“We’ll probably never be able to print the capillaries, which are on the order of 10 microns,” Lewis added. “Our thinking about this is to use top-down printing to create some overarching structure, and then let biology do the rest.”

BOSTINNO.STREETWISE.CO
by  | 09/25/14 2:11pm

3D printing in healthcare

The sophistication of 3D printing in the medical industry continues to amaze people worldwide 🙂

http://medcitynews.com/2014/09/wow-week-3d-printing-heart/

The patient, Brandon White, examines a 3D printed version of his heart.

We’ve all heard that 3D printing is getting increasingly sophisticated, from printing components for buildings and cars and whatnot. And 3D printing in healthcare is no different.

The latest example comes from a company that created a 3D-printed heart model to support a 16-year-old patient with a tumor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Belgium-based Materialise, which specializes in 3D printing for medical applications, was approached by Dr. Michael Taylor, the director of advanced imaging at The Heart Institute regarding the patient’s condition.

Bradley White, the patient, was born with a heart tumor and has had numerous open-heart surgeries since he was three-years old, and has a defibrillator implanted to protect against sudden cardiac death. But he recently was back in the hospital for yet another procedure to stop the electrical interference caused by the large cardiac tumor.

Dr. Tayler asked Materialise to create a 3-D replica of Bradley’s heart using Mimics Innovation Suite software, modeled on CT scan data. The 3-D printed replica allowed physicians to better understand the complex relationship of the tumor, printed in a hard, opaque material, and surrounding anatomical structures printed in a flexible, transparent material. That let the team of doctors proceed with an electrophysiology study and catheter ablation over a risky surgical resection of the tumor.

The replica also revealed just how big the tumor on Brand’s heart is, which surprised Bradley himself.

“I always thought my tumor was the size of a quarter and didn’t realize how large it was until I saw the [Materialise] model,” he said in an announcement from the company. “It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen by far.”

Materialise is hoping to expand its 3D printing capabilities further into healthcare, and clinicians at Cincinnati Children’s think it can be a great use of technology applied to healthcare and imaging.

“I think 3D Printing will clinically take us to the next generation of imaging. This is our future,” said Dr. David Morale, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s.

MEDCITYNEWS.COM
by DAN VEREL | Sep 27, 2014 at 6:00 AM

3D printing used to save a toddler’s mind

3D printing is used for “one of the most challenging operations in pediatric epilepsy surgery.”

The concept of using 3D printing for ‘practice runs’ or simulations on risky procedures is catching on and gaining in popularity!

http://www.theverge.com/…/doctor-turns-to-3d-printers-in-a-…

Gabe suffered from terrible seizures known as “mind erasers.” But doctors used a 3D printed brain to pioneer a medical breakthrough and give him a normal life.

Come along with The Verge for the second season of Detours. We’ve traveled across the country to find the people, groups, and companies that are solving America’s problems in new and unconventional ways.

On a Tuesday last summer, Erin Mandeville was at a CVS buying medicine for her five-month-old baby, Gabriel. Close to 4PM, she noticed her infant’s eyes roll back in quick succession. It was the first of Gabriel’s many episodes of infantile spasms that would follow.

Spasms or epileptic seizures can be catastrophic for young children. Doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital tried every route and medicine to help Gabriel as his seizures progressed aggressively.

“He was missing huge milestones in his childhood,” said Mandeville.

Doctors eventually suggested a hemispherectomy, a complicated operation that disconnects the healthy half of the brain from the one causing seizures. “I didn’t know how invasive it would be,” Gabriel’s mother said. “But, if it was going to make him have a better life, it was an easy choice to make.”

Mandeville’s choice was made easier knowing that Gabriel would be the first infant whose brain would be replicated by a 3D printer for a practice run prior to the operation.

“THIS IS A PRINTED VERSION THAT THE SURGEON CAN HOLD, CUT, MANIPULATE, AND LOOK FOR THINGS.”

A hemispherectomy is “one of the most challenging operations in pediatric epilepsy surgery,” says Dr. Joseph Madsen, director of the epilepsy program at Boston Children’s. A dress rehearsal is beneficial even for the most highly experienced surgeons. “This is a printed version that the surgeon can hold, cut, manipulate, and look for things,” he says, holding Gabriel’s printed brain in his hand. For surgeons-in-training, the simulation is a blessing. “No one wants to be the first person to get a hemispherectomy from a surgeon, ever,” he adds.

The 3D print of Gabriel’s brain was developed by the Simulator Program at the hospital. The model is printed in soft plastic with a precision of 16 microns per layer; blood vessels are set in contrast color for easier navigation. Gabriel’s parents were privy to the process and anticipated complications. Gabriel’s subsequent surgery earlier this year took close to 10 hours, and went according to plan.

“Surgical preparation via simulation allows surgeons to hit the ground a lot faster,” says Dr. Peter Weinstock, director of the Simulator Program. “We can’t be prepared for every possibility, but we can chop off a large number of complications.”

Though medical simulations are nothing new, the Simulator Program surpasses conventional systems with next-generation mannequins and 3D printing. The team behind the program includes surgeons, specialists, radiologists, and engineers, and is currently gathering data to validate its implications on surgical times, anesthetic times, and patient safety.

“WE CAN CHOP OFF A LARGE NUMBER OF COMPLICATIONS.”

Within a year of its inception, the project has developed close to 100 prints — 20 percent of those have made their way into operating rooms. Dr. Weinstock suggests that in the future, on-demand anatomy printing could make its way into emergency rooms to meet the needs of trauma cases.

“The technology is coming,” he said. “The question is: how do we develop and make use of the technology that will have an immediate effect on how we take care of children?”

Gabriel, now 18 months, is seizure-free. Challenges can be expected. “But, kids’ brains are so resilient,” his mother says. “He’s already re-wired himself. He’s starting to hit the milestones he missed — he wakes up smiling every day.”

THEVERGE.COM
by Mona Lalwani | September 3, 2014 11:41 am

3D printing – further progress in medicine

Another good deed achieved through 3D printing!

http://www.nydailynews.com/…/chinese-doctors-3d-printing-re…

CHNOUT

A 46-year-old farmer identified only as Hu suffered a head injured when he fell from the third floor of a building. Doctors recently rebuilt the missing section of his skull with titanium mesh produced by a 3D printer.

They will rebuild him: a staff member at a hospital in Xi’ an, Shaanxi province, displays the titanium mesh produced by a 3D printer prior to the man’s surgery.

A Chinese man recently underwent a potentially life-changing operation thanks to something created by a 3D printer.

Doctors at a hospital in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, used a 3D-printed titanium mesh implant to rebuild a section of Hu’s skull.

The 46-year-old farmer suffered a head injury in October when he fell from the third floor of a building, according to local media. A large portion of his skull was crushed and needed to be removed.

Since the accident, Hu has also had trouble with his vision and speech.

Doctors said they hoped the titanium mesh would help recreate the original shape of his skull and reduce surgery trauma.

NYDAILYNEWS.COM
by  | August 29, 2014, 5:11 PM

First 3D printed knee for cat!

Cyrano the cat gets a second chance to be able to use a leg deteriorated from bone cancer again, with the help of the first 3D printed knee joint ever made for cats! 🙂

http://www.engineering.com/…/3D-Printing-Creates-the-Worlds…

3D printing, medicine, cat, surgery

A Weighty Dilemma

It’s the kind of diagnosis you dread. When Cyrano developed bone cancer in his left hind leg, his owners wanted to get him the best treatment possible to bring him back to full health. After successful radiation treatment that eliminated the tumour, Cyrano went into full remission. Unfortunately, because of the invasive nature of the cancer, Cyrano was left with bone deterioration in his distal femur and he was unable to use his painful knee joint. In cases like this, surgeons normally choose to amputate the affected limb; however, at 26 lbs, Cyrano wouldn’t be able to support his weight with only three legs. Undeterred, Cyrano’s owners enlisted the help of experienced veterinary surgeon and orthopaedic specialist Dr Denis Marcellin-Little and his long-time collaborator Ola Harrysson, Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University to create a custom solution for their beloved pet.

Getting Cyrano Back on His Feet

3D printing, medicine, cat, surgery

Dr Marcellin-Little and Prof Harrysson have worked with Materialise using Additive Manufacturing in surgeries for over 10 years. With amputation out of consideration, they felt that 3D Printing could provide an ideal solution for Cyrano because of its ability to create small but detailed parts to exacting specifications. Cyrano would thus become one of the very first cats to receive a miniature, limb-sparing total knee arthroplasty. Starting with CT scans of both hind legs, Dr Marcellin-Little and Prof Harrysson used Materialise’s Mimics Innovation Suite to generate accurate 3D models of Cyrano’s leg. Adapting the design of a knee implant used in dogs, in collaboration with BioMedtrix, an animal implant company, they then created a miniature implant that fit to the exact anatomical structure of Cyrano’s leg, and the surgical plan needed to successfully realize the procedure. Because of the small size of the bones, the integrated ability of the Mimics Innovation Suite to engineer parts on a personalised anatomical model facilitated a process that would have otherwise been extremely difficult to manage and perform accurately.

Building Strength and Integration Features Into Implants

Knowing the bone structure around the joint was weak, the implant was designed with stems that would anchor it into the bones. Materialise technology partner EOS then printed the implant using cobalt chromium, a metal strong enough to support Cyrano’s weight and the wear and tear that daily use would exert on the thin parts. Building the implant by Direct Metal Laser Sintering meant that mesh and porous areas that would promote integration of the implant into the bone could also be built into the piece as it was being created. These features, only achievable using Additive Manufacturing, provide enhanced long-term stability over traditional implants, giving surgeons a new option for non-standard cases such as Cyrano’s that can be tailored exactly to their needs. Since his surgery Cyrano has returned to his family, and although he now walks with a limp, he can move freely again with full use of his joint. With 3D Printing now entering the veterinary realm, cats are one step closer to experiencing their full nine lives.

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3D printing drugs?

The medical industry takes another colossal step forward!

http://rt.com/usa/182120-3d-printer-drugs-science/

AFP Photo / Jean-Philippe Ksiazek

Scientists believe they have come up with a way to print drugs, using a 3D printer. They say they can create a capsule, which can be swallowed, and it will also allow doctors to alter a dosage according to the specific requirements.

A team of researchers, from the Louisiana Tech University, believes they have come up with a solution to find a biodegradable material, which could be used to contain everyday drugs, as well as chemotherapeutic compounds for those needing cancer treatments. The 3D printer would be able to create the capsule, meaning that medicine only needs to be inserted before it is sealed, Science Daily reports.

“After identifying the usefulness of the 3D printers, we realized there was an opportunity for rapid prototyping using this fabrication method,” said Jeffery Weisman, who is a doctoral student in Louisiana Tech’s biomedical engineering program.“Through the addition of nanoparticles and/or other additives, this technology becomes much more viable using a common 3D printing material that is already biocompatible. The material can be loaded with antibiotics or other medicinal compounds, and the implant can be naturally broken down by the body over time.”

Weisman believes that one of great advantages of the new technology will be its ability to tailor the contents of a drug for particular needs. This could mean a dose of antibiotics could be made stronger or weaker, depending on the requirements of the patient. It would also mean hospitals or pharmacies would not have to wait for deliveries from pharmaceutical companies. As long as they have the drug in question, they can create the dosage in the medical facility, or drug store.

“One of the greatest benefits of this technology is that it can be done using any consumer printer and can be used anywhere in the world,” Weisman said.

Dr. David K. Mills, who is a professor of biological sciences, also added that there are other uses that 3D printers could have in the medical industry. The vast majority of antibiotic implants, which are put inside someone undergoing an operation to ensure there is no risk of infection are made out of bone cements. Bone cements, which are normally used to anchor joints, such as a hip or knee, have to be mixed by the surgeon and are non-biodegradable, meaning the implant has to be removed once the operation has been completed. The researchers now believe that these antibiotic implants can be made out of bio-plastics, which can be broken down by the body, thus meaning no additional surgery is needed.

“Currently, embedding of additives in plastic requires industrial-scale facilities to ensure proper dispersion throughout the extruded plastic,” explains Mills. “Our method enables dispersion on a tabletop scale, allowing researchers to easily customize additives to the desired levels. There are not even any industrial processes for antibiotics or special drug delivery as injection molding currently focuses more on colorants and cosmetic properties.”

So far 3D printers have been used to create the outer shells for devices such as hearing aids. Phil Reeves, who is an expert in the 3D printing industry, says that there are currently around 10 million hearing aids in circulation and that this is a conservative estimate, according to Forbes.

The great advantage of using a 3D-printed hearing aid is that it gives the user much greater comfort, as it can be adjusted to the exact measurements required. This would simply not be possible if it was mass produced in a factory.

Meanwhile, in February 2012, the BBC reported how a woman in the Netherlands was given a replacement jaw, made out of titanium powder, which had been created by a 3D printer.

Layerwise, the company who helped design the product said:

“Once we received the 3D digital design, the part was split up automatically into 2D layers and then we sent those cross sections to the printing machine,” the company added.

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