The prospect of medical teams being able to print replacement body parts is exciting. As someone who has experienced reconstructive surgery, the idea that surgeons can perfectly recreate an exact match brings great hope. Patients would no longer have to rely on artistry and good fortune - or repeated surgeries - to obtain symmetrical, life-like results.
New 3D printing technology created by a team at Wake Forest University in North Carolina is showing great promise reliably printing human tissue and organs. Bioprinting, as it is known, is a big leap for medical technology and is now coming into its own as an effective and beneficial means of healthcare and healing. The bioprinter works similarly to other 3D printers, but instead of printing in metals or plastics, it prints hydrogels containing human cells. What is special about this new printer is that the tissue that it prints is able to accept blood vessels and therefore essentially keep the cells alive. This research is especially exciting for the medical community, which is already looking to the future and the potential that this technology has for us.