The leaps and bounds made in the medical community with 3-D printing technology continue to develop faster than ever. Doctors and scientists have worked to implement custom-printed materials into the medical world continuously for the past several years, and even more advances have been made in recent weeks.
According to Becker's Spine Review, surgeons in China were able to perform a task that had before then been thought impossible. The professionals completed the first-ever spinal disc replacement in a spinal surgery, implanting a vertebra custom-designed for the patient.
This technology was used to replace the second vertebra in the neck of a 12-year-old boy, who had cancer in his spine. The boy's spine will need to be stabilized for months, but the surgeon who completed the procedure said the technology made the surgery stronger and more accessible than other procedures in comparison.
It's expected that printable implants are likely to only grow in stature and functionality. The news source said that French doctors were able to customize a full spinal cage with a 3-D printer in June.
3-D printed pills
Printable and customizable pills, have been mentioned by news sources like 3-D Print, and there are many opportunities for growth. An Indian company that recently launched the first printer brand in the country is working to create a specialized filament process that could better print medical pill capsules at any time.
Printing drugs is a growing trend, and many scientists believe that it may be possible to synthesize and create specific drugs on demand in a few years. In the future, it's possible that pharmaceutical companies could simply release a chemical formula for a drug and outsource the printing of it to local medical stores.
Specifically, the company in question, J Group Robotics, has created a special element that can print the capsules, which could then be filled with liquid or powder medicines during or after their initial 3-D fabrication. A breakthrough like this could potentially reduce the cost or difficulty of attaining many drugs, especially in poverty-stricken nations.
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