For many people who are born without limbs, or have lost limbs, finding suitable prosthetics is a great challenge.
Not only are most prosthetics monumentally expensive, oftentimes they don’t fit well and lead to painful or uncomfortable outcomes. After all that, many prosthetics offer limited range of motion and require ongoing physical therapy.
Thanks to 3D printing, however, the prosthetic process is becoming less painful and more effective. 3D printing technology is making specially designed and fitted prosthetics a reality for many. While 3D printed prosthetics are still relatively new, they are already helping to create affordable options for people.
3D printed prosthetics are more affordable than traditional prosthetics – much more affordable.
Creating prosthetics on a 3D printer will more that cover the cost of the 3D printer many times over.
A recent study at the Michigan Technical University Department of Materials Science & Engineering found that 3D printing prosthetics could save up to $2000 in avoided purchase costs, which means that the 3D printer will provide a 20-40 percent return on investment.
Hope for Transplants
3D printing is making major advancements in the field of medicine as well.
Thanks to bioprinting, the process of engineering cellular structures, viable human organs for transplants may one day be a very real possibility. Biotech company Organovo, has already developed liver tissues that are to be used for testing pharmaceuticals.
While experts say that we are still decades away from seeing complex bioengineered human organs that are suitable for transplants, 3D printing holds a world of potential and is rapidly advancing.
Currently, transplant patients face years of medication and run the risk of organ rejection since the body will always consider the transplant to be foreign. Bioprinting though, allows doctors to create special structures for patients out of specific cells, which would lower the risk of transplant rejection, helping to make transplants more successful.