Doctors have found a way to 3D print inside the Human Body

Do you know that Doctors have made an astounding breakthrough? According to a new paper published by the science, a group of doctors has managed to create a special link capable of 3D printing within the human body. The accomplishment could allow us to 3D print biomedical device directly in the body.

Doctors have found a way to 3D print inside the Human Body

3D bioprinting is a process whereby biomedical parts are fabricated from so-called bioink to construct natural tissue-like structures.

Bioprinting is predominantly used for research purposes such as tissue engineering and in the development of new drugs – and normally requires the use of large 3D printing machines to produce cellular structures outside the living body.

A team of engineers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, developed a tiny, flexible robotic arm that’s designed to 3D print material directly on the surface of organs inside a living person’s body.

The futuristic device acts just like an endoscope and can snake its way into a specific location inside the parent’s body to deliver layers of special biomaterial to reconstruct tissue, clean up wounds, and even make precise incisions; an amazing jack-of-all-trades they say could revolutionize certain types of surgery.

“Existing 3D bioprinting techniques required biomaterials to be made outside the body and implanting that into a person would usually required large open-field open surgery which increases infection risks,” said Thanh Nho Do, UNSW Sydney biomedical engineering lecturer and team lead, in a statement.

“Our flexible 3D bioprinter means biomaterials can be directly delivered into the target tissue or organs with a minimum invasive approach, “he added. “This system offers the potential for the precise reconstruction of three-dimensional wounds inside the body, such as gastric wall injuries or damage and disease inside the colon.”

However, it is not the first in-vivo 3D printer ever to be created. In 2020, for instance, a group of Chinese researchers developed a microbot that can be used to patch stomach ulcers.

But Do and his colleagues say their robot improves on the idea in a number of ways. For one, it’s tiny, with a diameter of less than half of an inch. It can also bend and twist its body thanks to hydraulics, which can be seen in a video demonstration of the device.

So far, the team has tested a proof-of-concept inside an artificial colon and conducted experiments involving printing various shapes on the surface of Pig’s kidney, albeit after the organ was removed from the pig.

Apart from bioprinting materials, the robot could also be used to remove certain types of cancer with the use of an “electric scalpel,” a needle-like instrument that can make incisions using tiny electric arcs. Water pumped through the nozzle could also be used to clean away blood and excess tissue.

Soft robotics

The device features a three-axis printing head mounted onto the tip of a soft robotic arm. This printing head, which consists of soft artificial muscles that allow it to move in three directions, works very similarly to conventional desktop 3D printers.

The soft robotic arm can bend and twist due to hydraulics and can be fabricated at any length required. Its stiffness can be finely tuned using different types of elastic tubes and fabrics.

The printing nozzle can be programmed to print pre-determined shapes, or operated manually where more complex or undermined bioprinting is required. In addition, the team utilized a machine learning-based controller which can aid the printing process.

All-in-one endoscopic surgical tool

The research team also demonstrated how the F3DB could potentially be used as an all-in-one endoscopic surgical tool to perform a range of functions.

They say this could be especially important in surgery to remove certain cancers, especially colorectal cancer, via a process known as endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD).

Worldwide, colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death, but early removal of colorectal neoplasia leads to an increase of atleast 90% in the patients five-year survival rate.

It’s an amazing breakthrough that could allow for a ton of medical applications, including mending broken bones, stopping leaky organs, and more. The development of this new option builds off the past creation of photosensitive ink that hardens when exposed to light.

Nevertheless, light can only penetrate into the human body so far, which is why these doctors instead chose to utilize sound waves from an ultra sound to activate the link. The process is called “deep-penetrating acoustic volumetric printing’ (DVAP), and it will allow doctors to 3D print biomedical devices directly where they are needed.


“Ultrasound waves can penetrate more th202an 100 times deeper than light, while still spatially confined, so we can reach tissues, bones and organs with high spatial precision that haven’t been reachable with light-based printing methods, “the researchers explained in a statement.

Medical advancements like this can open tons of new doors for how doctors treat specific issues. Being able to 3D print biomedical devices directly in the human body will allow for less intrusive surgery options, depending on the situation.

Lastly, the next step will be to test out their new soft robot inside living animals to determine if it could safely be used on humans as well. The bio ink relies on targeted application. Once it reaches its target, though, it is activated by ultrasound waves, allowing to harden into the pattern, and shape that the doctors have designed. There is no information on when 3D printing biomedical devices will be widely available.

Still, this kind of development is astounding and offers an exciting look at how the medical field is advancing. In the past, we have also seen scientists and engineers creating magnetically-controlled pill cams that can be driven though the body where they need to go.

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