Over 120,000 people were waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. during 2014, and only 27,996 of them have actually received an organ transplant (Ventola, pars.
22). Even though 27,996 people, a mere eighteen percent, have received an organ transplant, does not mean that the transplant was successful and that the body didn’t reject that organ (pars. 22). It means that only eighteen percent had a fighting chance of survival, but it’s still not even a guarantee. Everyday, about twenty-five of those people with no fighting chance die.
Coming in at an overall 8,863 people died all together because they were not given the chance to fight for their life (pars. 22). With three-dimensional printing you will be able to reduce that number, since you are printing the organ and not waiting around for one and able to make it with that person’s own cells.
Using 3D printing, it allows the doctor to customize the organ to fit the patient’s exact needs quickly, effectively, and at a lower price.For a quicker recovery time, implants, fixtures, and surgical tools can be made for surgery. Creating the implant specifically suited to the patient grants the patient to have a faster and healthier recovery time (Dodds, par.19).
After an organ transplant, the patient’s body must make the choice to either take the organ and use it as if it were it’s own or the body can reject the organ. In the case of 3D printing the organ is made strictly from materials that the body is already familiar with and the patient’s own cells limit the chance of rejection will be slim to no none (pars. 15-16). After, receiving an organ using a patient’s own cells you have a better quality of life after the transplant (Kelly and Zack Weinersmith 275). 3D printing allows surgeons to create appropriate treatments that will reduce patient recovery time. According to Drew Hendricks, at the Harvard Business Review, the success rates for a 3D printed cast has skyrocketed to forty to eighty percent faster and more effective than the traditional plaster cast. Doctors at the University of Michigan have published a study, that reported that a 3D printed tracheal splint was placed in a baby with tracheobronchomalacia (Ventola, par. 26).
The baby then went on to have a full recovery and is now living a normal childhood thanks to the miracle of 3D printing (“3D-Airway”, par. 5). The splint that was created to help open the airway around the lung that can be custom-made in just a few hours (Hendricks, par. 5). Recently at the University of Missouri, scientists have developed a product called bio-ink that can grow cardiac tissue and blood vessels, using the patient’s own skin cells (Oliker, par.
10). Everyday, there are new advancements in technology to aid in an increase in longevity. Researchers, are now able to print tissues that can be made to be apart of a whole organ (Kelly and Zack Weinersmith 259).We no longer have to just wait for an organ to fall into our hands. The 3D printer was able to save the life of a child and continues saving the lives of people everyday with the help of talented surgeons.
3D printing allows surgeons to print artificial bones from a scan of the patient, it prints the material to exactly the right shape to replace the missing or damaged area. Orthopedic surgeons are now able to print bones and other crucial parts of a patient’s limb to fit their body exactly right (Dodds, par. 2). They are now able to print screws and plates to fit into a patient’s limb to fit their body specifically (par.2). When finding an organ for somebody it can be a very difficult process, you have to make sure that the tissue and blood type matches the patient (Ventola, par. 23). Risk of tissue rejection is common in receiving an organ and could be eliminated by using the organ transplant patients own cells to make a replacement organ (par.
23). 3D printing allows us to specialize the part made specifically to the body (Dodds, par. 2). An implant can now be made if a cancer patient lost part of their bone and can now be made to fit the exact part the cancer destroyed. Before, a doctor would have to shave down the donor limb to fit the exact measurements to the patient’s needs.3D printing allows limbs and organs to be produced quickly.
Using 3D printing the product can be made within several hours (Hendricks, par.5). The 3D printing method can produce product much quicker than traditional methods for making prostheses and implants (Ventola, par.
19). Resolution, accuracy, reliability, and repeatability, as well as speed are improving (par. 19). According to C. Lee Ventola, 99% of hearing aids that fit properly into the ear are made using a 3D printer. Each individual person’s ear is shaped differently, and using 3D printing allows the hearing aid be custom-made to each individual that needs a hearing aid. Standard and complex customized prosthetic limbs and surgical implants have been created and used successfully within 24 hours (Ventola, pars.
31-32). In orthopedics the ability to produce custom implants and prostheses solves a persistent problem. Orthopedic surgeons are able to print bones using artificial materials from a scan of the patient (Dodds, par. 2).
3D printing allows the missing or damaged bone to be made precisely to the correct shape. Before, surgeons had to use tools to make the implants fit by shaving pieces of metal and plastic to the desired shape, size, and fit. It is hard to standardize a cranial implant since skulls have so irregular shape (Ventola, par.
33). Using 3D printers it takes less time to find the exact shape and is easier to customize the fit and design. 3D printing allows surgeons to construct and print prostheses and organs at lower cost effective prices. In the year 2012, organ transplant surgery and organ transplant follow-ups cost more than three hundred billion dollars (Ventola, par. 23).
3D printing can not only use cheaper materials to print organs or to replace missing bone pieces but it saves money on having more surgeries and complications caused by a failed organ (par. 24). Time after time patients have to have multiple organ transplants since the others has failed. If patients receive a 3D organ they can save money in not only medical expenses but they can also get back to work quicker, and can stop losing money that way. The splint that Dr.
Glenn Green and Dr. Scott Hollister built for the baby that suffered from the restricted air way and partially collapsed lung only cost ten dollars for the doctors to produce (Hendricks, par. 5). A South African Organization, Robohand, can create custom featherweight arms, hands, and fingers for only five hundred to two thousand dollars compared to the the ten thousand dollars of a traditional prosthetic (Oliker, par. 7).
Knowing that each day people lose their lives waiting for a transplant or to a failed transplant we can use 3D printing to help custom-make organs to save lives of people everyday.. 3D printing not only can save the lives of patients dying from organ failure and other diseases, but it also can improve the risk of rejection from a foreign organ, and the cost of the organ transplant. With technological advances that is made in the 3D printing world will better the medical world, and with that hope save hundreds of thousands of lives.