For the first time in the history of technology and medicine, a 3D printer was used to reconstruct the face of a British man who survived a serious motorbike accident in 2012.
Although 29-year-old Stephen Power was wearing a crash helmet, he suffered severe injuries, breaking his cheek bones, top jaw and nose. Several parts of his skull were also fractured.
“I can’t remember the accident – I remember five minutes before and then waking up in the hospital a few months later,” he told the BBC in an interview, describing the operation as a ‘life-changing’ experience.
However, this isn’t the first time the innovative technology has helped doctors in ‘life-changing’ procedures.
Recommended: Got a 3D Printer? Produce Your Own Honda At Home
Here are five other instances that prove 3D printing is truly a blessing for medical science:
Exoskeleton For Paraplegics:
3D printing is now giving paraplegics the power to regain the physical ability they have lost.
A woman named Amanda Boxtel – who spent the past 22 years of her life in the state of paralysis – can now stand, move and walk on her own, thanks to the first ever custom-made hybrid robotic exoskeleton.
Read Boxtel’s full story here.
Prosthetic Hand For 4-Year-Old Harmony Taylor:
A four-year-old girl suffering from a medical condition that stunted the growth her right hand got new fingers with the help of a 3D printer and instructions from a South Africa-based company called Robohand.
"I am so excited because this is going to make her more independent," the girl’s mother, Melanie Peterman, told MLive. "There are things like tying her shoes and playing certain games at school that you kind of need two hands for.”
75 Per Cent Of Skull Replaced With 3D-Printed Implant:
In a groundbreaking surgery that occurred last year, doctors used 3D printing technologyto replace 75 percent of a man's skull.
The team of researchers and surgeons who created the implant hoped that the same technology could be used to treat car crash victims, wounded soldiers and cancer patients especially who have to go undergo multiple scanning procedures.
3D Printing Livers – With Living Tissue:
“Organovo” – a U.S. startup that makes functional human tissues using three-dimensional bioprinting technology created the first 3D liver tissue for testing purposes last year. In 2010 the company also printed the first human blood vessel without the use of scaffolds.
Umbilical Cord Clamps In Haiti:
3D printing is being used to supply developing and underdeveloped countries with important and necessary healthcare supplies which are otherwise expensive to import.
A non-profit organization “iLab Haiti” is currently teaching Haitians to create prototypes of simple medical equipments such as umbilical cord clamps. You can read more about it here.