Today’s universe revolves around health and well-being, which has evolved over the years. Technological improvements and easy access to information make the health sector more competent. We can now make better decisions relating to our health.
The perspective of healthcare providers is now shifting progressively towards personalized medicine, making it a big trend in the medical industry. In this article, we will discuss what personalized medicine entails and how rapid prototyping is helping in this paradigm shift.
What is Personalized Medicine?
Personalized medicine refers to tailoring healthcare services or treatments to the individual needs and features of a patient. We all seem to be alive and function in almost the same manner when observed from a distance.
However, every human is unique from anatomical, physiological, and genetic points of view. This uniqueness has significant implications in therapy. The tendency of contracting a disease or responding to health care, thus, varies from person to person.
In the past, the focus was only based on the specific disease. Today, personalized medicine is the order of the day. Personalized medicine relies on an adequate understanding of an individual’s unique genetic and molecular profile to predict the most effective and safest treatment for such a patient.
We can consider personalized medicine as an extension of conventional approaches to treatments. Medical practitioners now have more precise tools and therapies that ensure successful treatment outcomes while minimizing side effects.
Furthermore, personalized medicine is changing how we identify, manage, and think about health issues. We cannot overlook its impacts on patient care and clinical research. Such big impacts continue to grow as we improve our understanding of prototyping technologies.
Rapid Prototyping and the Medical Industry
Rapid prototyping techniques continue to improve the medical industry as the years pass by. Experts now bring innovations into medicines, including medical product design, surgical procedures, prosthetics, and several other healthcare fields. All thanks to effective rapid prototyping methods.
Ranging from simple products like scalpels to complex ones like electrocardiographs (ECG), prototype manufacturing helps to bring innovations to the healthcare sector. Medical development industries now use rapid prototyping techniques like 3d printing, CNC machining to test the functionalities of medical equipment and check for possible improvements. Also, rapid prototyping helps to change the movement, design, functioning, and efficiency of various medical tooling.
Another vital aspect relating the medical sector to rapid prototyping is accuracy. While other industries may allow minor errors in products, the healthcare sector does not allow for such a margin for error. The slightest error in medical products can significantly harm the patient. With prototyping manufacturing, updating medical-related products is possible without compromising precision.
That being said, prototyping technologies present a great future for instrument design and medical products. Technological advancements give us new possibilities in the range of personalized medicine.
Applications of 3D Printing in Personalized Medicine
Additive manufacturing has now made medical inventions faster than before. The use of 3D printing services in the medical sector began with scientists’ 3D printed scaffold of the human bladder.
Since then, there has been an astounding acceleration in the application of 3D printing in biomedical fields. Physicians can now rely on anatomical models for different operations. Here are some of the 3D printing applications for personalized medicine:
Application in Manufacturing Prosthetics and Implants
Prototyping now plays a critical role in terms of using prostheses and implantations. Before medical prototyping, there were standard measurements used for designing prosthetics. This often takes a long time, and minor errors often lead to total redesigning. However, advanced prototype technologies now allow the specific designing of prostheses for individual patients.
Some patients have requirements outside the standard available sizes, and others need special treatments. Such patients have no issues anymore because they can get customized prostheses that fit their needs and come at affordable costs. It is a fast process involving very little to no errors at all.
This technology allows medical practitioners to take perfect measurements of damaged body parts. Then 3D printers can process such measurements to create prosthetics of exact dimensions. Medical prototyping services can create several replicas and make necessary changes to ensure accuracy and precision. The final prosthetic fits the exact organ’s dimensions, sizes, and colors.
Computed tomography combines with 3D printing technologies to use NMRI and X-rays to transfer generated data as inputs for prototyping processes. Recently, developers have focused on enhancing CT scan interpretation, translation, and accuracy. This way, the models generated from the 3D printing systems also have increased accuracy.
This CT scan technology proves valuable in hip replacement surgical procedures. In this case, physicians combine data from CT scans with engineering data for joining parts to the bone. Technicians then turn such data into plastic models specific to patients and can be applied as implants for them, thanks to selective laser sintering (SLS).
Whether surgical or cosmetic implantation, rapid prototyping makes it easier, safer, and cheaper. Now, we have implants and prosthetics that fit each person perfectly. We can also create replicas of missing external parts. In such cases, a three-dimensional image of the remaining organs helps to acquire data for the lost body part.
We look forward to a world where implants and prostheses can mimic the natural functioning of body parts.
Applications in Surgical Procedures
Additive manufacturing is a perfect way of creating three-dimensional replicas of human organs. This helps surgeons find the best surgical approaches and the exact complexions for unique patients.
In most cases, orthopedics and dentists can replicate bone damage and repair progress. It also helps to understand teeth deformities, abnormal growth, and repositioning. These factors help surgeons figure out the exact problem and the best surgical intervention for it. The developed models are often present in surgical rooms for easier access.
One of the commonest technologies for such applications is stereolithography (SLA). This model has reliable features like transparency and clear differentiation of tumors and foreign growth.
Since its inception, the medical industry has significantly evolved, with rapid prototyping bridging the gap between the generation of ideas and innovative developments. Technologies like 3D printing now give us a shot at better health and an enhanced lifestyle. Patient-specific innovations like 3D-printed implants and tissue cells make personalized medicine the future trend to watch out for.