Imaginarium believes the field of 3D printing has been growing rapidly. It is an advanced manufacturing technology where physical objects are created from digital data, using specialised machines known as 3D printers. These objects are ‘printed’ by the machines by adding one layer of material over the other, giving the object a three dimensional structure and also known as additive manufacturing.
As the use of the technology has increased, 3D printing finds a number of applications in medicine; to produce patient specific anatomical models, surgical guides, jigs and fixtures, customised implants and device testing prototypes. Its numerous potential in the medical space has made the technology useful for planning surgeries and creating drugs.
Apart from a more penetrative adoption of the current solutions that 3D printing has to offer to healthcare, there is also a huge potential in the field of bio – printing. This technology enables printing of real living tissue, said Tanmay Shah, head, innovations, Imaginarium .
With 3D printing creating a significant impact on pharmaceutical, bio printing and medicine, it is paving the way for revolutionary changes in these fields, he added.
Statistics have proven that hospitals are unable to meet the ever increasing demands pertaining to organ donation, thus leading to a large number of deaths over the years. With 3D technology one can facilitate printing of tissues and organs, which can be further implanted into patients. A comprehensive research and experiment recently concluded that 3D printed organs such as ears, bones, cartilage and muscle structures successfully mature into functional tissue and develop into a system of blood vessels. This is now being seen as a viable option of using 3D printed tissue structures in order to substitute injured or diseased tissues in patients, said Shah.
The materials used for printing surgical guides are all biocompatible which can stay in contact with the human body for prolonged durations without causing any complications. For implant procedures, FDA approved titanium is used. With the added precaution of sterilising every single piece of equipment before it enters the operation theatre, 3D printed devices are just as reliable, if not more, than the conventional ones.
Thanks to recent developments in 3D printing technology, cruelty towards millions of animals during the product testing phase, can be ruled out. Using 3D bio – printing for human cell systems will significantly help reduce testing on animals and would make for a more accurate form of validation, said Shah.