A 3D printer that can print… inside the body

A 3D printer that can print... inside the body


Australian engineers have developed a small, flexible 3D printer that is capable of printing biomaterials directly inside the body. 

This tool could help make future medical procedures more efficient, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

3D printers are already used to print cells and biomaterials, in particular to artificially produce biological tissues that can, for example, be used to repair blood vessels.

Currently, the printing of these biomaterials must be done outside the body, and requires surgery, which can lead to infections, blood loss or other complications, to be inserted inside, detailed the English press agency.

“No technology available on the market can perform direct 3D printing inside the human body,” said team leader Thanh Nho Do. , which has challenged itself to eliminate these risks.

The smallest prototype of this 3D printer, which has been named F3DB, has a diameter of 11 to 13 millimeters, which is comparable to an endoscope – a small camera that allows you to see inside the body. However, it may be reduced in the future.

“Soft robots [are] very good at working with the human body,” Do said. They can provide high flexibility and adaptability. This means that they can adapt to any area of ​​the human body.”

The latter also estimated that the tool could be marketed in the next five to seven years depending on clinical trials.