3D Printing: The New Nerve Regeneration Guide

3D Printing in the medical field is soaring higher and higher as it once again took part in
a very delicate task, nerves regeneration after an injury. Based on a market research firm, Garner, there is nothing more hype-worthy than this.

The very first of its kind, a 3D printed guide was created by collaborating researchers from University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, University of Minnesota and Virginia Tech. The guide was used in restoring motor and sensory functions on the damaged nerves. Over 200, 000 people around the world are suffering this kind of affliction caused by different kinds of injury and disease.

According to Mayo Clinic, the damage on the nerves can be permanent. However, a certain study that was published on Advance Functional Materials, there can be a solution. This is through a 3D printing guide. The team was able to create a 3D print custom silicone guides infused with biochemical cues that were first tested in lab rats and proved to be effective.

First, the team made a 3D scan on the rat’s sciatic nerve which results in a 3D model created specifically for the rat. Through a custom built machine with 3D prints, the silicone guide was then saturated with chemical to generate sensory and motor nerve growth.  Finally, when the guide was surgically implanted into the cut ends of the rat’s nerve, the rat slowly coped up and regained its normal walking ability just 10 to 12 weeks later.

As for the generalization of the study, the researchers quoted, “This represents an important proof of concept of the 3D printing of custom nerve guides for the regeneration of complex nerve injuries. Someday we hope that we could have a 3D scanner and printer right at the hospital to create custom nerve guides right on site to restore nerve function.”

Based on the story First-of-its-Kind Nerve Regeneration Pulled Off with 3D Printed Nerve Guides by Michael Molitch-Hou