Maruthappu, M. and B. Keogh (2014). How might 3D printing affect clinical practice? BMJ 2014;349:g7709 http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7709

Changing clinical practice and business models:

“When added to the ever increasing availability of printers,… The internet is no longer simply an information vehicle but a delivery vehicle, decentralising and accelerating the manufacturing process.”

“…combined with medical imaging, 3D printing also has the potential to revolutionise the concept of personalised medicine… There are several examples of it already in use, including customised dental fillings and fittings, designed to fit neurosurgical cranial plugs, personalised prostheses replacing generic parts, and the production of anatomically accurate models for planning operations”

“….3D printing can be integrated with tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Use of harvested and in vitro cultured human cells to produce a “bioink” has enabled bioprinting of tissues … by printing hearts, pancreases, lungs, or limbs it has scope to cure myriad long term conditions and complications”

Bioprinting has ethical, moral, and technical challenges. Regulation is needed for its development.