3D Printing Raises Ethical Issues In Medicine

3D printing can offer great benefits in medicine, but it also raises a number of ethical questions as the technology develops, says Susan Dodds. Three-dimensional printing technologies have the genuine potential to improve medical treatments for conditions ranging from bone cancer and arthritis to glaucoma and hearing loss.

Already 3D bioprinting allows orthopaedic surgeons to print artificial bone from a scan of the patient, printing existing surgical materials to precisely the right shape to replace missing or damaged bone. For example, the technique has been recently used to create skull implants for people with head trauma and a titanium heel (pictured right) to replace heel bone that had been eaten away by cancer.

In the future, 3D printing technologies may be used together with advances in stem cell research to print living bone cells from patients’ own cells or functioning organs for transplant (such as kidneys or hearts). … (read more)

Source: ABC.net.au