In August 2014, a Louisiana Tech research team unveiled 3D printed prototypes intended to help injured individuals avoid the operating room. Made on an off-the-shelf 3D printer, these medical implants can be printed in different shapes and sizes and, as a result, they can be used in a variety of situations.
According to Jeffrey Weisman, the creator and developer of the 3D printed surgical technology and student at LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, the goal of the implants is personalized medicine, treating illness, and bone and joint replacement innovations. The implants can be created using any consumer printer and can be used anywhere around the world. With different shapes custom designed for each organ, the implants can be targeted to a specific infection or ailment.
Currently, two surgeries are required in order to inject and remove implants but Weisman is striving for his implants to be made of bioplastic, which the body absorbs to create the implants. For cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, necessary drugs can be embedded into the implants for safe, localized treatment. The long-term goal of the project is to advance current technology. Ideally, Weisman would like to see immediate action but the FDA must first approve the patents and implants for hospital use.