Could A Printer Save Your Life?

Printer | Princeton Nutrients

Newer, more modern technology is being developed constantly, it may seem like you just bought the newest version of your phone, only to see an ad for the next generation version.

Phones are one example of upgrades being made everyday, but 2016 has also presented some groundbreaking developments in the world of heart health.

Not long ago, a girl born with an abnormal heart defect thought she was going to die from her condition, doctors didn’t know how to treat her condition.

The repairs needed to be made on her very small heart were too risky and life-threatening to the already delicate heart of the young girl.

At two years old, the hole between two chambers of her heart left Mina Khan constantly breathless. She couldn’t breath and she couldn’t eat; her outlook was grim.

The issue in her heart affected her whole body. She didn’t gain any weight and even her hair wouldn’t grow.

Luckily, with the aid of a 3D printer, Mina could be saved.

Because the hole in her heart was so complex and surgery on a toddler so risky, doctors did not want to go in blind.

A 3D model of Mina’s heart meant that the doctors and surgeons could perform test runs for the surgery and discover the best way to repair her heart.

Mina’s heart was scanned in an MRI machine and then printed, to scale, so that surgeons could examine the hole in detail.

Just this year there have been several cases where 3D printed ‘practice’ organs helped save lives all over America.

In New York, surgeons were able to save a two-week old baby by 3D printing his heart.

In Southampton a man convinced surgeons to 3D print his kidney before surgery. Due to the plastic kidney, doctors were able to cut down on surgery time by over an hour.

Surgeon Bhaskar Somani says that 3D modeling gives doctors a better idea of where the problem is, allows them to practice the surgery, and gives them time to come up with better solutions to tough problems.

But there are even more uses for 3D printers than practice surgery.

Doctors are also looking at metal and plastic implants to replace bones and using real cells to print useable internal organs.

Printing companies are currently focused on titanium hip joints that can be tailored to fit any individual.

They’re also printing tissue patches to help repair damaged liver cells.

If printing with real cells can be refined, soon it won’t be uncommon to print whole hearts and other organs for transplant.

Did you ever think that one day your life could be saved by a printer?


Lee Daniels, Princeton Nutrients Staff

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