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Bioprinting Technology Used in Medicine

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Bioprinting is a technology of combining cells, biomaterials and other supporting molecules into functional tissues. Due to the large demand for organ transplantation and limited organ donors, bioprinting might be an innovative method to solve the organ shortage. At the same time, it has the advantages of accurate placement of the cells and the ability to build complex internal structures over other traditional tissue engineering methods

In addition, Bioprinting could also be implemented in drug testing and disease modelling.

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Moreover, 3D printing is successfully used in making standard and complex customized prosthetic limbs and surgical implants in a shorter time. This approach has been widely used in fabricating dental, spinal and hip implants. Previously, this process took a longer duration making it more complicated. Therefore, the ability to produce custom implants and prostheses significantly solves a clear problem in orthopedics especially in complex cases when standard implants are not sufficient. Individual complexities and variances of the human body make the use of 3D printed models ideal for surgical preparations. Basically, the presence of a tangible model of a patient’s anatomy for the physician to study or use in simulating a surgery is preferable to relying on MRI or CT scans only. These may not be as instructive as they are viewable in 2D on a flat screen. Similarly, 3D printed models are more essential in surgical training which enhances the understanding and study process. Additionally, the technology is also helpful to neurosurgeons as the models help improve on the accuracy. Conversely, despite the uses, the use of the technology has been faced by a series of controversies. There has been a continuous concern over the safety and overall security. 3D printing has been employed for criminal purposes raising issues

Similarly, lack of a suitable regulatory framework has equally slowed the adoption of the technology.

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The most effective application of 3D printing is the bio-printing of those organs that are complex (Yoo et al. 3). Research estimates that the world is behind by at least 20 years before we could think of obtaining a printable heart that are fully functioning (Rybicki 1). As 3D printing technology evolves, there is the promise of the reality of getting printed organs such as the vascular networks. The approach would be significant because it would make way for the production of live implants in addition to organs and tissue models that could be used in discovering drugs (Rybicki 1)

Moreover, it would be possible to print tissues and utilize them to test and determine the most effective medication. In addition, according to researchers, the future of 3D printing will entails using stem cells from teeth of children and uses them as toolkits when developing and growing replacement organs and tissues. Another trend that researchers and doctors expect involves printing where living organs or the implants are being printed in the body of the patient during the operation. By using 3D bio-printing, growth factors, biomaterial scaffolding, and cells may be used in repairing lessons of different thickness and types with a digital control that is concise.3D printing for repairing organs such as skin, which are external organs, has already taken place (Rybicki 1). In a certain case, doctors used 3D printing to fill lesion on skin with the keratinocytes and fibroblast on the distinct areas of the wound of the patient (Ventola 705). Fortunately, the process is likely to advance in repairing those organs that are partially damaged, malfunctioning or diseased. Evolution in surgery that is robot-assisted and robotic 3D printers may be an important aspect in the advancement of this technology. Consequently, 3D printing holds great promise in the field of medicine (Ventola 707).

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In fact, in standard tissue engineering, cells are seeded onto solid, biodegradable scaffolds, and are then induced to grow. However, that conventional approach is limited in its ability to replicate the smaller structures of a tissue. With bioprinting, cells are combined with the matrix and deposited precisely to form the desired tissues and organs

Common techniques include jet printing and extrusion methods. Bioprinting has broad applications in biology and medicine.

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Oliker, Aaron. “3D Printing: revolutionizing medicine.” Americas Quarterly 9.2 (2015): 46-47.

Rybicki, Frank J. “3D Printing in Medicine: an introductory message from the Editor-in-Chief.” 3D Printing in Medicine 1.1 (2015): 1-1.

Ventola, C. Lee. “Medical applications for 3D printing: current and projected uses.” Pharmacy and Therapeutics 39.10 (2014): 704-711.

Yoo, Shi-Joon, et al. “3D printing in medicine of congenital heart diseases.” 3D Printing in Medicine 2.1 (2015): 1-12.

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