Hey brother, could you spare…a limb?

College of DuPage Nursing Student Thomas Peck asks, “Ever imagine being able to use your computer to create a 3D model of an airplane, a car, a house or even a leg?” I know it sounds like one of these items does not belong, but the advancement of
3D printing has taken us a long way from its advent in the 1980s.
The way that 3D printing works is that design is imputed into a computer program. The computer sends the images to a printer. This printer takes a material, oftentimes a resin, and creates layer upon layer until there is an actual 3D object. As I stated earlier, the technology was originally designed to create prototypes for office complexes, housing developments, airplanes, cars, and
the list goes on and on.
Now, fast-forward to today. Why limit this technology to the urban and general consumer market? Why not take this technology and directly apply it to the healthcare sector, improving the lives of individuals? Well, according to the FDA and the Cleveland Clinic, this is a major focus for 2019.
According to both of these institutions, 3D printing is the new now! There have been breakthroughs that couple diagnostic imaging, such as an MRI, with 3D printing, in order to produce personalized artificial limbs. These limbs can be molded to fit a specific person, which not only helps an individual with mobility, but it helps to increase mental health by increasing self-esteem. After all, who doesn’t want to be able to feed themselves, dress, or simply be able to perform daily hygiene?

Science is not only limiting itself to artificial limbs, or prosthetics. There have been advances in dentistry where artificial implants and/or crowns can be made to fit precisely into an individuals’ mouth. Heart problems? New valves are being tested to replace the older and louder models of the past. Difficulty breathing; asthma? Scientists are developing artificial stents to keep airways
open.
As you can see, technology can be an absolutely wonderful and amazing venture. By combining many areas of science and technology, we are able to create new fields of interest never thought of before. The future of combining computers with 3D printing, and thus into the human body, we are able to improve the overall wellness of so many individuals. This is the focus for the near,
as well as the distant future.
Keep an eye on 3D printing, you never know what will be created next.
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