3D Printing: The next big thing in medicine

By | January 27, 2015

3D printing works by modeling, and then printing, objects out of thin cross-sectional layers of materials. These cross-sections are the same sort of cross sections that most medical devices deliver. That means that putting medical scans together results in a beautiful 3D model of the patient – and should they be suffering from a tumor or some physical disorder, it also means being able to model the shape of that tumor or physical deficiency.

The result: this 3D layering technique is being pioneered to solve a multitude of health problems that were previously diagnosed with a low cure rate, or in some cases a low survival rate. It also helps to clearly demonstrate whether a diagnosis – like massive growth of a tumor – is accurate or inaccurate. And best of all, you can do a lot of it yourself with your health records and a bit of technical savvy.

In the last years, there have been a multitude of cases cropping up where 3D modeling, and 3D printing, have made life-changing differences in people's lives:
– Eyesight: http://makezine.com/magazine/hands-on-health-care/
– Heart: http://www.cnet.com/news/doctors-3d-print-a-model-heart-to-help-save-a-little-girls-life/
– Trachea (Windpipe): http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201305/baby’s-life-saved-groundbreaking-3d-printed-device
– Gastric cancer: http://www.cnet.com/news/3d-printing-helps-surgeons-save-5-year-olds-life/

It will be exciting to watch this technology take off, reduce health costs, and increase health quality, in the next few years.

Man Saves Wife’s Sight by 3D Printing Her Tumor
When his wife was misdiagnosed, Michael Balzer used 3D printing and imaging to get her well

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