3D technology and precision medicine in the hospital sector

3D technology has revolutionized numerous fields and precision medicine is no exception. In fact, this type of medicine is booming, driven by new advanced tools and technologies that bring doctors closer to patients, allowing the creation of treatments and devices adapted to each individual.


Advances in medical 3D printing technology have had a significant impact on various fields in the healthcare sector. 

For patients, these new therapeutic tools and methods developed through 3D printing offer unprecedented levels of comfort and personalization in their treatments. 

For physicians, access to advanced technology provides greater understanding of complex cases and offers new tools that can improve the quality of medical care. From custom surgical models to 3D printed healthcare products, 3D printing is transforming the healthcare industry. 



What is 3D technology in medicine

3D printing involves creating three-dimensional objects from a digital model by successively adding layers of material. 

This technique has been essential to manufacture personalized devices and complex anatomical parts.

3D technology in medicine covers several areas, among which the 3D printing of prostheses and organs, the creation of anatomical models for surgical planning and the advanced visualization of medical images stand out. We will see them in depth below.



How does 3D technology work?

3D printing begins with creating a digital model using computer-aided design (CAD) software or by 3D scanning physical objects. 

Once you have the model, it is divided into layers that the 3D printer builds successively. 

The most commonly used materials in 3D printing in medicine include biocompatible plastics, metals, and recently, biological materials that can integrate with the human body.

In medical imaging, advanced data processing techniques are used to transform two-dimensional computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images into detailed three-dimensional models. This facilitates clearer and more precise visualization of complex anatomical structures.


La tecnología 3D ha revolucionado numerosos campos y la medicina de precisión no es una excepción



From theory to reality in healthcare

Although its implementation is progressive, 3D printing is transforming medicine in several key areas:


  • Improved surgical precision
    It allows operations to be planned in greater detail before entering the operating room, which shortens the duration of the intervention and reduces risks by providing prior knowledge of the procedure.


  • Printing of orthopedic prostheses and other materials
    Facilitates the design and manufacture of custom prostheses, accelerating recovery in cases of fractures and efficiently correcting affected extremities.


  • Manufacturing of medical supplies
    In the face of emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, 3D printing has proven to be crucial to quickly produce the necessary material, and has the potential to supply remote regions without the need for transportation.


  • Patient understanding of the problem: Creating three-dimensional models of organs helps patients better understand their medical conditions and the procedures necessary for their treatment.


La impresión 3D comienza con la creación de un modelo digital utilizando software de diseño asistido por computadora (CAD) o mediante el escaneo 3D de objetos físicos



5 fields of application

The main areas of application of 3D printing technology are:


1. Prosthetics and orthoses

3D printing allows devices to be created that perfectly fit the individual needs of patients, improving comfort and functionality. For example, prosthetic limbs can be printed that are lighter and more adaptable than traditional ones.


2. Anatomical models for surgical planning

Creating three-dimensional anatomical models from CT and MR images allows surgeons to plan complex procedures with greater precision. 

These models help to better visualize anatomical structures, identify potential complications, and practice surgery in a simulated environment, which can reduce operating time and improve outcomes.


3. Custom implants

Bone plates, joint replacements and cardiac devices. These implants are designed to fit exactly to the patient’s anatomy, improving integration and reducing the risk of postoperative complications.


4. Bioprinting

It is an emerging subcategory of 3D printing that involves the creation of biological structures by layer-by-layer deposition of living cells and biocompatible materials. 

This field has the potential to revolutionize regenerative medicine, allowing the manufacturing of personalized tissues and organs for transplants.


5. Medical training and education

Provides students and healthcare professionals with a more tangible and detailed understanding of human anatomy. These models allow the practice of surgical and diagnostic procedures in a safe and controlled environment.



The latest advances

In recent years, there have been numerous advances in 3D technology applied to medicine. They are the ones we mention below.


Improvement in printing materials
The development of new biocompatible and biodegradable materials has expanded the applications of 3D printing in medicine. Advances in materials science have allowed the creation of devices that are more durable and that interact better with human tissues.

Bioprinting of tissues and organs
Bioprinting has progressed significantly, with research demonstrating the feasibility of printing complex tissues, such as skin, cartilage, and vascular structures. 

Integration with advanced medical images
The integration of 3D printing with advanced medical imaging has improved the accuracy and effectiveness of clinical applications. 

Surgical navigation systems using 3D models allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures with greater precision.

3D printing in oncological surgery
3D printing has been used in the planning and execution of complex oncological surgeries, allowing the precise resection of tumors and the reconstruction of areas affected by cancer. 




Benefits of the 3D Printer in medicine

This additive manufacturing technology has not only revolutionized treatments, but has also improved medical training. Among its advantages for professionals and patients we find:


  • Personalization of treatments
    Allows you to create specific solutions for each patient, adapting to their particular needs.


  • Reduction in surgery and recovery times
    Optimizes surgical procedures, shortening both the duration of operations and the recovery time of patients.


  • Manufacture of individualized surgical material
    Facilitates the creation of personalized medical tools and equipment, improving the precision and effectiveness of interventions.


  • Cost savings
    Reduces expenses associated with the production and transportation of medical materials.



The great challenges of 3D printing technology

One of the main challenges is regulation and approval by health authorities. 3D printed medical devices must meet strict safety and effectiveness standards, which can delay their implementation.

Furthermore, although the costs of 3D technology have decreased, they can still be prohibitive for many medical institutions, especially in developing countries. 

On the other hand, the effective implementation of 3D technology in medicine requires adequate training of medical and technical personnel. This involves learning how to use the equipment and understanding the clinical implications and best practices for each application.

Bioprinting and the creation of personalized tissues and organs raise important ethical questions. The ability to create human organs in the laboratory raises debates about the appropriate use of these technologies, the ownership of printed tissues, and the implications for organ donation.



Finally, the materials used must be durable and biocompatible to ensure long-term safety and effectiveness. There is still much to be done to ensure that 3D printed implants and prostheses can withstand physiological conditions for long periods.

“3D technology has opened new frontiers in precision medicine, offering innovative solutions for a variety of clinical applications. From creating personalized prosthetics to tissue bioprinting, the possibilities are vast and promising.


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