While a surgeon has the knowledge and skills to perform many intricate maneuvers, they also need specific tools that allow them to perform that procedure. If there is a defect in that tool, it can cause major problems both for the surgery team and for the patient. However, the problem may not lay in the tool itself, but rather the people who are being operated on.
For this assessment, I am covering the capabilities of 3D printing in the medical field of surgery. While the art of 3D printing may not be ‘new’, it certainly is finding new applications in various fields. 3D printing permits the exact measuring of the dimensions of an object, meaning that custom tools can be created for surgical purposes. Now, one may ask, “Why should there be custom tools for surgery? Isn’t it better if all the tools are uniform length?” Well, the answer would be yes, it is better if the tools are uniform; however, there are always going to exceptions in which the uniform tools will not work properly. For example, in this article, there is a very big risk if a physician tries to stent a patient’s blood vessel and the fit is not good. This risk may simply be caused by a significant curve in the vessel, disturbing the normal blood flow. So what should be done if a traditional stent does not suit the problem? One answer is to use a 3D printer to create a custom stent to suit the patient. This affects me as a person studying under surgery in that the way stents are implemented has changed. A procedure which required intuition and quick judgment now has a proper procedure behind it, facilitating the said surgery technique. However, while the usage is important, I believe that the construction and planning behind 3D printing of vascular stents is just as fascinating and important.
The 3D print is based on a technique that allows very thin stents to be created at a very fast pace. This very thin stent is also very cost effective due to the lack of manufacturing processes and shipping. Not only that but in comparison to the metal wire mesh that was used to create the previous stents, the stents made from the 3D printer are composed of a biodegradable material. This implies that instead of the patient having to come back in to remove the stent, the stent permits itself to function during the vessel’s initiation dilation and slowly dissolve as the re-opened blood vessel. Just like how there are biodegradable stitches; biodegradable stents will easily allow surgeons to take care of more patients in the same amount of time.
I believe this will advance the medical field and reduce the burdens that surgeons and their teams hold. This article holds a hope that even more tools that are implemented into patient’s bodies can become biodegradable. With the advent of the usage of 3D printing in the medical field, I can tell the way surgery teams will go into operations will change, even if by the smallest margins.
“Top News In Surgery October 11 2016 (1 Of 2)”. Mdlinx.com. N. p., 2016. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.