aka The Frazzled Mom
Sometimes technology creeps me out…and what unnerves me more is the generation that blindly accepts the invasion of that technology (thanks, Black Mirror). But that’s not the case in this instance. Years ago, I’d read about the capabilities of the 3D printer and the idea of being able to print a specialized tool by sending the instructions from Earth to the International Space Station. Of course, the article went on to talk about “beaming up” food for the astronauts. Uh…
Anyway, since then, the 3D printer has continued to grow in its functions and uses. No longer just seen as a toy, with a simple search you’d find it’s making strides in the area of prosthetics. Here are two examples of what I’ve read many hospitals worldwide have been working on.
How long would the material hold up within the human body? Right now, they are using metal powder to print the jaw, but they are working towards the idea of using organic material as the “ink”. It would be interested to follow these cases and see what the long-term effects were. How is the patient managing after 10, 20 or even 30 years? How has the jaw held up under use? Does the material used have any adverse effects on the human body?
There are thousands of questions that will arise from this use of technology and right now little answer. But it does give hope. Imagine having an osteosarcoma of the lower jaw, which eventually requires the removal of that bone. The impact on the patient is more than just a cosmetic one. Daily functions are hindered and difficult without it. Quality of life suffers. Being able to replace it with a new, 3D printer version…sure, it’ll change the look of the face (I can’t imagine they can get an exact copy of the jawline), but how does it feel and compare?
When I think of prosthetics, my first thought is pirates and a carved wooden leg. Yes, I’m juvenile like that. 😛
And that, in turn, brings my mind to “tripod”, my parents’ dog. Her name isn’t actually tripod, but it’s more of a nickname for her. Since we found her at the shelter, she’s been missing a quarter of the hind leg (no foot). At the time, the Vet noted ligature marks, indicating that something may have been tied around the leg. She was the runt of the litter, her sister, and brother being a “grande” and “venti” size, while she was more of a “tall” or “kids” size. Despite the missing foot, it hasn’t stopped her from running and playing like any other dog. Often, when taking her for a walk, people at first don’t even notice.
Back to the thought of the 3D printer…could this be used to create a prosthetic hind leg for her? Would she accept it? She’s cute and sweet (and spoiled rotten), but can be stubborn. 😉