Need a New Body? Print One.

Beyond Saving
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Need a New Body? Print One.,0,7338719.story


An unidentified man had 75% of his skull replaced with a 3-D printed implant made by Oxford Performance Materials, a Connecticut company. The surgery this week was the first time a patient received an implant made specifically for him using 3-D printing technology.

3D printing is probably going to revolutionize the medical industry from bone transplants to artificial limbs and of course cosmetic surgery. This news story got me doing a little research on the subject and it turns out that the leading scientists in the field have already used 3D printing to create whole organs. They use a process calling "bioprinting" using 3D printers that are capable of printing something as small as a single cell. The difficulty of course is creating one that will actually function properly when transplanted into a human.

I'm not really sure I can wrap my head around how it works but apparently there are two main methods. One they attempt to create a "scaffolding" which is designed to encourage cells to grow into the proper shape. Scaffolding is made out of both synthetic and natural polymers which is then seeded with cells and provided with conditions that encourage cell growth. The newest method is bioprinting where they use a bioink made out of cells consistent with whatever tissue is being replaced and then printed using a 3D printer. Veins, nerves and even whole organs may be printed at will in the not so distant future. I just hope they perfect it before I need a new lung and a new liver. Several of the scientists seem to believe that bioprinting will be a better method for internal organs because when placed in an environment the cells will actually adapt and re-organize themselves to fit better whereas the scaffolding techniques create a more rigid organ which could cause functional problems. 

In the future might it be possible to print a whole limb for an amputee? It isn't as outlandish as it might sound. You would need to print it in stages or someone needs to come up with a 3D printer that can use multiple types of ink at the same time, but it is theoretically possible to print a replica of any human tissue including bone.


If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

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The 5th Element was right

The 5th Element was right all along. Who knew?

Joking aside, this stuff may be the precurser to the Star Trek replicator. Shit is amazing.

Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

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I saw some specials on this

I saw some specials on this recently and the shit is way crazy, I mean out of this world crazy. The sad thing is that the war is promoting this stuff more and more as the researchers make head-way for repairing missing limbs and regenerating parts of the body for wounded military personnel.