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3D Printing: Is Bio-Printing the Future of Organ Replacement?

I have written previously about the unfolding revolution in 3D printing which will eventually penetrate every facet of home-made manufacturing including the printing of food.

Now, picture the following scenario:

You get a full 3 dimensional scan of your complete body geometry. One day there is an accident and unfortunately you lose an ear or some other part of your body. Still, nothing that you really should worry about: Your doctor opens up your unique body geometry back up file, selects the exact specs on the missing body part and prints out a brand new ear which is virtually identical to the one you just lost. This may well be the future of organ and body-part replacement technologies produced by the latest breakthroughs in reconstructive medicine and bio-printing.

Sounds far-fetched? Well, here are some videos in support of that claim.

Putting the feasibility issue to the side, the really important questions pertain to the wider implications of organ-printing technology.

Will it make us more likely to take on risky activities such as extreme spots and other dangerous occupations such as the military?

Will it help us live forever provided that we do regular body maintenance by simply replacing the part that has been worn out?

Will it make people more irresponsible with respect to their life-choices pertaining to smoking, fast-food and healthy lifestyle?

What will be the impact of those on our society in general?

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  • Anonymous

    I wrote about how bioprinting could enable complete organ level sex changes once developed: http://hplusmagazine.com/editors-blog/total-gender-change-within-decade

  • Anonymous

    I wrote about how bioprinting could enable complete organ level sex changes once developed: http://hplusmagazine.com/editors-blog/total-gender-change-within-decade

  • Rolf

    I would rather choose a better (hearing and looking) ear than a copy of my current one 🙂

  • That is a great point Rolf! And it brings us to the next really important question:

    If we could easily upgrade most or all of our organs with better ones then should and would we do it?

    My guess is that most people would…

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  • We sell ready to run plug and play 3-D printers and kits starting at $1199. Come visit us today. http://thefutureis3d.com/ and start printing for tomorrow.

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  • Certainly all those with any issues (diabetes, allergies, congenital effects, etc), beyond that, … well once you start re building and gen engineering to get rid of serious diseases, then you go to more minor diseases that could inhibit or threaten, then enhanceents for better health –then really why not perfect skin, get rid of unfortunate noses, etc.

  • I was thinking once of the movie terminator. To make a terminator, clone the organs, mussels, skin etc over the endo-frames, (not to mention getting the remnant nerves to link to the wiring, but skipping that – and how to not tear up tissue in all that exposed mechanism..) the idea of something like printing them up from attack points on the frames, grow them up to a full organ set etc. Course really its the same issue for a badly injured person. Weave a mesh in the shape of the bones, coat with a calcium compound to form the basis for bone cells to start up on – then load the bones with the normal cells there (marrow, bone repair cells,etc), growe in cartilage, mussel, all the rest — then grow it up to a section of the body that can be surgically fused with the patents body. Grow, and replace as a set the internal organs… something ribcage down, weave in a lower spin trashed in a crash with new lower cord cells (neat trick here) grown all the way down to the new toes on the new legs – etc.

    Anyway – just speculating.

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  • Matthue DeYarus

    Why is there no mention of the really weird/cool/scary target…printing the BRAIN/MIND. It will have to be a second-gen device with higher granularity…but still worthy of discussion! In connection with this, how about the printing of whole new people in one ‘job’? Good way to populate a new planet using only an information bank…but on the other hand a population bomb of a completely higher order than conventional reproduction.

  • Abdul Rehman

    Although 3d printed organs show real promise, I wonder if we’ll be able to print whole animals and even humans in the future.

  • huk mccann

    it would be much better if we could be born without having to pass through our mothers’s hips. a birth organ printed to enable a “natural” casarean instead of hours and days of LABOR would make life better for all of us.

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