Nowadays, 3D technology is applied in many fields, from industrial production, through fashion, to the food industry. It is in medicine, however, that 3D technology shows its potential at its best.
3D printed skull. Photograph: UMC Utrecht
At the beginning of 2014, history was made at University Medical Center (UMC) in Utrecht, Netherlands: a skull of a 22-year-old woman was completely replaced by a tailor-made 3D printed plastic skull. The patient was suffering from a condition that thickens the bone structure of the cranium, which causes an increasing pressure of the brain leading to vision loss, motor coordination impairment and, eventually, death.
Needless to say, the operation was very successful and, after a few months, the patient could start her own daily life without any complications.
The entire skull was manufactured with the help of Anatomics, an Australian medical device company that specializes in 3D printing.
This is only one example of what 3D technology is achieving in the field of Medicine. Together with the researches and successful stories below, it only represents a very small part of the revolution that 3D technology is making in the healthcare system and, therefore, in everybody’s life and expectancies.