21 March 2014

Three-dimensional printing in medicine

The Future: 3D printing

Indira Valeeva, Copper NewsThe technology of 2013 can be safely called 3D printing - recently it has penetrated into all spheres of life.

With the help of 3D printers, they began to create a variety of things: from accessories and design layouts to food and weapons. Printers for private, home use have appeared on the market. Companies for the production and sale of 3D printers, as well as services for creating models for them, began to open one after another in Russia.

Many people say that 3D printing will radically change our lives, allowing people to create the things they need in everyday life. Perhaps this is still a long way off, but in one area 3D technologies have definitely made a revolution - in medicine.

"Medicine is one of the most important and most promising areas of 3D technology development. 3D printing is used in dentistry, transplantology, plastic surgery, traumatology, prosthetics and many others," says Ashkhen Hovsepyan, director of SIU System, the official distributor of the American 3D Systems Corporation.

According to her, 3D technologies have various degrees of application in modern medicine. Some have fully integrated prototyping into the workflow, while others use technologies piecemeal and refine them for their tasks.

Dentistry3D technologies are most actively used in dentistry in practical terms.

Back in 1999, Align Technology, a medical instrument manufacturing company, introduced 3D-printed dental alignment caps to the market. Mouth guards are an alternative to braces. At the moment, the company produces more than 650,000 pairs of caps per day.

To create a cap, the patient's jaw is scanned from all angles. Then individual caps are created, which are printed anew every two weeks, since during this time changes occur in the dentition. Unlike braces, mouth guards are invisible on the teeth, transparent and do not cause inconvenience to patients.

"Many people are embarrassed to walk with braces: such designs look unsightly, and customers prefer to stay with an incorrect bite for life, so mouth guards are an ideal option for such shy people. At the moment, this method of creating a Hollywood smile is already widely used in various Moscow dentists," Hovsepyan says.

Also, with the help of 3D printers, it has become easier, faster and cheaper to create an impression of teeth and jaw. Some universities, in particular the Moscow State Medical and Dental University, are already teaching their students the use of 3D technologies on specially purchased equipment.

Auditory prosthetics3D printing is also actively used to create individual in-ear hearing aids.

In 2001, In'tech began working with the Viper SLA printer developed by 3D Systems. It allows you to make an accurate shell for hearing devices up to a millimeter, which is inserted inside the ear.

Since 2012, Widex's Camisha technology has also been used. It consists in the fact that first liquid silicone is injected into the auricle, with which an impression is created. Then a 3D scanner produces its three-dimensional model, which is printed on a 3D printer. A hearing aid is inserted into it, and as a result, an accurate and miniature intra-ear apparatus is obtained.

TransplantologyWith the help of 3D printing, you can create whole organs.

Until recently, it seemed fantastic. Even when, in 2012, a resident of Belgium was transplanted with a jaw created using 3D printing. However, the creation of kidneys, liver or heart valves is not beyond the scope of experiments yet.

"Two years ago in the USA, elements of an exoskeleton were already printed on a 3D printer for a two-year-old girl Emma, who was sick with arthrogryposis, a disease of the musculoskeletal system characterized by deformity and contraction of limbs and underdevelopment of joints and muscles. These elements allowed the child to move his hands, play and draw," Hovsepyan says.

This year, American doctors and scientists managed to create an entire exoskeleton for a girl who could not walk for 22 years due to paralysis after a fall on downhill skiing.

"The developers of 3D Systems were able to put a woman on her feet: with the help of 3D scanning of her spine, hips and shins and the subsequent printing of the world's first exoskeleton [made using this technology], Amanda was able to get up and move on her own again. Complex mechanical drives and control units manufactured and provided by EksoBionics specialists were combined with 3D-printed elements," Hovsepyan explains.

Russian scientists are also engaged in the development of 3D technologies of regenerative medicine. In the fall of 2013, a private laboratory of biotechnical research "3D Bioprinting Solutions" was opened on the basis of Skolkovo, which develops methods of three-dimensional organ bioprinting.

Three-dimensional printing can allow you to create not only titanium implants, but also bone models, the structure of which is maximally similar to real ones. This technology would make the transplant process easier and safer.

Prosthetics3D printing allows you to create individual prostheses that take into account all the characteristics of the patient.

In addition, it is cheaper than the traditional production of prostheses.

In 2013, Richard Van As, a carpenter from South Africa who lost four fingers, together with American engineer Ivan Owens and MakerBot, a manufacturer of home 3D printers, launched the Robohand project, which creates inexpensive prosthetic hands. On average, they cost $ 15, while traditional ones cost $ 10,000.

Initially, 3D printing for prosthetics was tested on animals. In 2012, American scientists created a 3D model of a nylon beak for a bald eagle that was maimed by a poacher shot in the head. Before the prosthesis was printed, the bird was fed and watered manually. The artificial beak allowed the eagle to feed on its own.

Last year, Canadian scientists printed out a prosthetic foot on a 3D printer for a duck that was born with a deformed limb. Thanks to him, the bird was able to learn to walk as an adult.

OncologyScientists expect that 3D printing will help cancer patients both for rehabilitation after surgery and to prevent the development of tumors.

And there are already examples from practice. 3D printing helped a patient to return to a full life, who had the left side of his face completely removed due to a malignant tumor. Surgeons implanted a facial prosthesis with which the patient can eat normally.

Work on cancer prevention using 3D technologies is just beginning. With the help of 3D printing, scientists from the University of Alabama have created a model of the DNA G-quadruplex molecule, the study of which is likely to help in the fight against malignant tumors. The G-quadruplex molecule cannot be depicted in two-dimensional space, so 3D technologies are needed to study it. Scientists believe that such a model will help them understand how to influence this molecule to stop the division of cancer cells in the pancreas.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru21.03.2014

Found a typo? Select it and press ctrl + enter Print version