You have cardiac heart disease and is going to have a surgery. Usually, you repair your damaged heart with parts either from other people's donations, or your personalized parts. Recently, doctors at the Harvard Medical Center, are now using 3D printed models of organs to use in surgeries for their patients. Printed parts have been used into human bodies for example like: in dental purposes (implants), skull repairing, and even facial reconstructions according to Houston Chronicle. Engineers and researchers are trying to also replicate closely similar cells, blood vessels, and tissues. There has been constructed parts that humans are still living with for example lie: artificial ears, knee cartilage, and even solid bones. Doctors think that the 3D printer will become a very useful tool that will come in handy later in the future when 3D printings at a low financial cost. Doctors and researchers have even designed and created their own custom body parts. According to the article, "I really think the 3-D jet printer is transformative," says Daniel Jones, chief of minimally invasive surgical services at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "It's going to change the way doctors talk to patients, how they plan surgeries and how they do surgeries. The sky is the limit in terms of applications." I think that this is very true because NOT ONLY will ill patients be getting donated organs from other people, but they will also get artificial 3D printed parts that work just as well.
[Basically, how a 3D printer works, is that it takes the digital 3D model (from a computer), and layers the dimensions by creating coating layers or material that they use, which is plastic to create the three-dimensional item. It doesn't always have to be necessarily plastic, but 3D printers have the ability to print items made of materials like: metal and rubber. Click here to learn more about 3D Printers!]
Recently, a team in the Harvard Medical Center, has developed to make 17 children's hearts successfully with 3D printers that they could relevantly use for surgical repair. Since a child's heart is small, I bet this wan't that difficult with working, compared to larger hearts. "For most people, it is an 'aha' moment," says Mahmood, who is researching the possibility of printing patient-specific valve parts that would be safe to use in surgeries. "What I foresee is that . . . we will be 3-D printing everything we operate on before surgery. Instruments, grafts and materials will all be customized and will be printed on-site," according to the article.
Thoughts, Ideas and Opinions
I think that using 3D Printing is a great idea for organ transplants in surgeries because this discovery has led to even more advanced technology that doctors are considering in using. This is also a great way because if a patient from a doctor needs a customized organ, and they can't find a donation, then the surgeon can easily make a digital heart, customize it how it needs to be needed, and then print it up. I find this new technology as a much efficient and faster way for surgeons to use something valuable, and impact that on a person's life. 3D Printing USED to be a science-fiction thing that no person thought that would be an actual possibility. Now, it is somewhere where we are getting into the point where we doubted ourselves. This new form of technology is being put into the right hands because the patients that surgeons and doctors see, are almost putting an end to their lives, but with a 3D printed organ transplant, it can completely save them. (I'm wondering, if the 3D printed organ going to be used ONlY temporarily, while the surgeons are finding donations, or will the printed organ actually be what the people use for the rest of their lives?) This is a great and respectful way for 3D printing to be used, and I hope to see more positive ways that this technology is being used in.