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Researchers Develop 3D-Printing Technique to Make Realistic Ears

An otolaryngology resident and bioengeneering student at the University of Washington have teamed up to create a low-cost cartilage model for surgical practice using 3D printing. The innovation will allow surgeons to perfect the construction of realistic ears.   Surgeons approach the task of fixing a missing or underdeveloped ear by harvesting rib cartilage from the child and carving it into the shape of an ear. The rib cartilage is limited, and surgeons try to harvest as little as possible.

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New 3D Printed Microscope Could Help Fight Disease in Central Africa

Bioengineers with UC Berkley just published an article with Science Translation Medicine about a breakthrough technology that can easily detect certain diseases using a 3D printed microscope and a smartphone. The development could mean the difference between life and death for people in hard to reach areas of the world where hospitals and blood analysis equipment are few and far between. The CellScope Loa Using an FDM 3D printer, lead author Daniel Fletcher and his colleagues printed a relati

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3D Printed Solutions for Nepal’s Disaster Relief and Medical Needs

In April of this year, Nepal suffered its worst natural disaster in more than 80 years. Two major earthquakes rocked the nation, leaving a death toll of more than 8,000 people and 15,000 injured. Nine out of every 10 schools were destroyed and countless homes and businesses were lost. Now, as the country attempts to restore what it can of people’s lives and livelihoods, the 3D printing community is taking unique and inspiring steps to help those who were injured by the devastation. Arms for Amp

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A Life Saving Prosthetic: The 3D Printed Beak

The ability to create affordable prosthetics for humans by 3D printing has been in the news since shortly after the it was invented. Now, more animals are benefitting from the technology. Most recently, several birds have successfully joined this growing club of animals with 3D printed prosthetics. But damaged beak most often means death since the birds can’t eat properly, making this 3D printed fix a life saving solution.   Grecia from Costa Rica Take Grecia, a toucan from Costa

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Conjoined Twins Separation Surgery Made Possible with 3D Modeling

For the first time ever, 3D modeling has aided doctors in the successful separation of conjoined twins. Sisters Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith were born last April to John and Elysse Mata. The girls, now ten months old, shared a chest wall, lungs, heart linings, diaphragm, liver, intestines, colon, and pelvis, all of which needed to be carefully separated by doctors. Even before the surgery the babies were already a miracle—of the roughly 200,000 conjoined twins born every year, between 40 and

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Bioprinted Beating Heart Cells are the Latest Step in Complex Tissue Engineering

The prospect of 3D printed human organs has been an exciting topic in the biomedical community for some time now. Although researchers haven’t yet managed to print and implant anything yet, they are making significant strides in tissue engineering that could one day lead to the printing of fully-functional organs for use by people. A prime example of this is the pioneering work of Dr. Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Popular Mechanics recently announced that

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3D Printing Organs for Use in Surgical Planning Shows How Medical 3D Printing is Changing Healthcare

3D printing organs is a small part of a technology that contributes to a wide range of industries. But no one can deny that the impact is greatest for the medical community, and the patients and families they’re helping.   Biomedical 3D printing is often associated with innovative new prosthetics and affordable custom implants, but that’s only half of the story.   3D printing organs has completely changed surgical planning for many doctors, with impressive results. Doctors Find Their Optim

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Bioplotting May Offer New Treatment Option for Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes has long been considered a life-changing illness, with treatments geared towards detection and management. While a cure for the illness is still considered to be a long way off, the 3D printing method of bioplotting may offer patients a new treatment option that could ease diabetes management and improve the quality of life for many. Researchers have 3D printed a structure that helps protect insulin-generating cells that are implanted into the pancreas. Here’s why that's importan

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3D Printed Guides May Help Improve the Repair of Damaged Nerves

Researchers at Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering recently published a paper that points to a new way to use 3D printing technology to help repair damaged nerves. The breakthrough research is excellent news for people who suffer from nerve damage because of the complications and limitations of current methods. Difficulties of Traditional Methods Repairing nerve damage often requires surgical autographs to build a bridge between damaged nerves. Autographs are often difficult to come by, while

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Northeastern’s New Method to 3D Print Medical Devices Tailored To Babies

Randall Erb and colleagues from Northeastern’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering have pioneered a new 3D printing method to make patient-specific medical devices.   The method, which appeared in the October 23rd issue of Nature Communications, uses magnetic fields to shape composite materials in a 3D printer. The printer mixes plastics and ceramics into patient-specific products, which could mean an end to ill-fitting medical equipment for infants.   A Prevalent Problem  

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How 3D Printing is Aiding New Discoveries in Human Evolution

It’s easy to think of the benefits of 3D printing for teaching anthropology. The new technology allows professors to digitalize fragile fossil and bone samples for classroom use—creating a great visual teaching aid. As it turns out, 3D printing has considerable benefits for anthropologists outside of the classroom as well. For one, increasing access to fossil samples for scientists is putting collaborative research on the fast track. Digitizing fossils and making the files available to universi

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3D Printing Helped Solve 5-Year Old’s Life-Threatening Heart Condition

A 3D printed heart model allowed doctors to perfect a life-saving surgery for 5-year-old Mia Gonzalez. Mia was born with a double aortic arch, a rare heart malformation where a vascular ring wraps around the trachea or esophagus, which restricts airflow. The condition required a complex operation to fix, but surgeons at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami were able to use a 3D printed model of Mia’s heart to plan the surgery and practice using Mia’s specific heart structure.   A Practiced P

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Groundbreaking Complete Skull Reconstruction Saves 3-year-old’s Life

Han Han was born with a rare disorder called congenital hydrocephalus, which caused her head to grow four times larger than was normal. At three years old, she wasn’t expected to live much longer unless something was done about the condition. Doctors in China, her home country, came to the rescue by developing a titanium mesh skull with the help of a 3D printer. Surgeons at the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province were successfully able to remove most of Han Han’s skull and replace it with

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New Ways to Help Children in Need of Prosthetic Hands Find 3D Printers

Through the internet, news, and word of mouth, people are finding ways to help children gain access to 3D printed hands. A prime example is E-Nable, an online community founded by Jon Schull that aims to help children in need of prosthetic hands connect with a people who own 3D printers. The site is made up of volunteers; mainly designers, prosthetists, and 3D printing enthusiasts with access to a printer, who work together to design and produce prosthetics for children who are missing a hand or

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Supervet Discusses the Ethics of 3D Printing Technology for Veterinary Medicine

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick is one of the most prominent doctors of veterinary medicine in the UK. Featured on the show The Supervet on Channel 4, Fitzpatrick performs live-saving operations for people’s beloved pets, often making use of advanced technologies like 3D printing in his procedures.   Despite his skills, Fitzpatrick says whether or not to keep animals alive is a moral decision, more than a scientific assessment. He says that 3D printing and other technological advancements have made

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MHOX Expects to Develop 3D Printed Eye by 2027 to Cure Blindness, and More

MHOX, a generative design studio focused on exploring new options in human body extensions and systems, has recently announced its plans to develop a fully functional 3D printed eye that could replace the faulty organ for blind people as soon as 2027. Originally a confidential project, MHOX chose to disclose some details about their progress and plans after Will.i.am made controversial comments warning people about the potential for scientists to eventually 3D print entire humans. According to

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3D Printing Makes Cosmetic Solutions for Children More Accessible

In the past, children born with a congenital deformity or who suffered a deformity after cancer or another illness had few options to fix these issues. Many prostheses are prohibitively expensive, as they are often considered to be ‘cosmetic’ by insurance companies and are therefore not covered. This puts parents in a difficult place, especially when the child will shortly grow out of expensive prostheses. In some cases, the necessary surgeries to fix the cosmetic issue were too risky. Thanks to

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L’Oreal Plans to 3D Print Human Skin: An End to Animal Testing?

It would seem that an end to animal testing by cosmetic companies is in our sights, as French cosmetics giant L’Oreal announces plans to 3D Print human skin. What comes as news to many is that the company has actually been in the business of growing human skin since the early ’80s, and a new partnership with Organovo is only the latest step to fast-track the production of skin samples for cosmetic testing. Growing Skin L’Oreal runs a lab out of Lyon, France where they currently grow human sk

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Animals Get Medical Benefits from 3D Printing Too

Most of the articles you find about 3D medical printing features the benefits of the technology for people who can’t afford expensive prosthetics, especially for children. But 3D printing technology turns out to be just as much of a lucky break for our four-legged friends. Here are a few of the high publicity examples of animals benefitting from 3D printing, but there are many, many more. Derby the Dog A viral example is Derby, a husky born without fully formed front legs. His foster family go

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On the Road to Fully Functional Bone Replacements

Whether 3D printed or not, bone replacements have always posed several problems for patients. For one, if the patient is a child, they will quickly grow out of whatever artificial implant they may receive. And even if the patient is an adult, they still need a bone replacement that will adapt to changes in their bodies as they age, just like a real piece of the human body. Luckily for everyone, researchers at several organizations are investigating new ways to create the perfect bone replacement

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3D Printed Anatomy Series Offers Alternative to Cadavers for Medical Training

A new 3D Printed Anatomy Series developed by scientists at Monash University may be the most realistic alternative to practicing on cadavers for medical students yet. An Effective and Streamlined Training Tool The kit contains anatomical body parts specifically designed for medical education, with the potential to revolutionize training in places where cadaver-use is not possible. It includes all major parts of the body, including the limbs, torso, head and neck, but no actual human tissue. T

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3D Printed Replica of Patient’s Brain Used to Plan a Complex Procedure

A neurosurgeon from Saskatoon in Canada has 3D printed a replica of a patient’s brain to help him plan a complex medical procedure.   Working with a team of engineers, Dr. Ivar Mendez created an accurate replica of the patient’s brain, which will allow him to practice surgery.   Dr. Mendez is the head of surgery at the University of Saskatchewan, and is already familiar with using advanced technologies to improve surgical results. He uses computers in the operating room, and has a medical en

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How 3D Printing is Streamlining Forensic Research

When it’s time to present forensic evidence to a judge and jury, prosecutors have traditionally relied on photographs and other visual methods to display evidence. Today, forensic anthropologists are embracing a much more detailed visual aid—with a little help from 3D Printing.   3D Printing for Forensic Evidence   In the case of homicide, there’s no better way to clearly present evidence to a jury than by showing them the actual bones in question, but that’s not considered best practice for

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3D Printing Takes Biological Sciences Back to Basics

The 3D printing revolution in the biological and medical sciences are developing synthetics and treatments faster than the news media can keep up. Some of the advancements, like experimental 3D printed brain cells, sound like something out of a Sci-Fi novel. Although the benefits of 3D printing to advancements in human health are numerous, the technology is also helping biologists better understand the topics covered in Biology 101—namely, the basic structures of biological molecules. Some of t

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3D Printed Spine Model Aids in a Child’s Treatment

In a UK-first, surgeons at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital successfully used a 3D printed model of a spine to help complete an operation.   The procedure was the first time NHS doctors have ever used a 3D printed model in the operating room.   The model was used by surgeons on the West Derby hospital’s orthopedic team in their efforts to correct the curved back of an eight-year-old patient. The young girl from Whales suffers from kyphoscoliosis, a complicated congenital spinal problem.   T

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