Amazing Medical Use for 3D Printing


We all have our own ideas about what we could do with a 3D printer. I have visions of guys printing out parts for broken lawn mowers or other lawn tools. I have thought of many items I could print to sell on Etsy or eBay as well. And many people simply want to create something cool, no matter if it actually has a function. These are just the initial thoughts i have had when it comes to 3D printers. Apparently I underestimated the technology!

While reading about a sea turtle that was injured by a boat I was introduced to the possibilities of 3D printers making replacement parts for animals. This turtle was left unable to eat on its own after its jaw was badly damaged. The good folks that saved the turtle would have had to feed the animal for the rest of its life and a return to the wild would have been impossible. But with this new technology I thought was only for simple uses like making cool  3D art or a lawn mower wheel, this turtle’s jaw was repaired by the veterinarian team.

This may have been the first time a wild animal has been helped back to health with a 3D printer, but there have been cases of pets being fitted with prosthetic legs in the past. Can you imagine your local vet being able to print a new leg for your dog or cat after an injury? It’s pretty unbelievable stuff we’re talking about. While these specialized printers capable of medical uses aren’t cheap, the parts produced are quite affordable.

dog leg

It’s hard to say how long it will be before the average guy will benefit from this 3D medical printing when it comes to helping a family pet. Actually I may be still thinking small when it comes to these possibilities. Why shouldn’t we expect human replacement parts to be printed in a similar fashion?

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Shane McLendon
Wannabe geek and FLOW Seeker