The latest breakthrough in technology is the handheld 3D printer that may cause skin grafting to be a thing of the past. In lieu, physicians could just print a new sheet of skin on the spot.
At the Toronto University, researchers have developed this printer and it can quickly manufacture fresh skin tissue to cover and fill a wound in less than 2 minutes.
“Most current 3D bioprinters are bulky, work at low speeds, are expensive and are incompatible with clinical application,” explains Professor Axel Guenther.
Currently, skin grafting is the go to method of treatment. This method requires large potions of donor skin and it is not guaranteed that the donor skin will be enough to cover an injured area. This leads to poor healing and recovery. Other bio-engineered skin tissues have been developed but none have been used extensively.
“Our skin printer promises to tailor tissues to specific patients and wound characteristics,” says PhD student Navid Hakimi who led the research. “And it’s very portable.”
The 3D printer is shaped similarly to a packing tape dispenser. It distributes tissue sheets made out of protein-based biomaterial including collagen and fibrin; a protein in the dermis and another involved in wound healing. They ensure that the printed material penetrates all 3 layers of the skin to properly heal a wound.
The researchers must complete further tests before they can perform trials on human beings. There is hope that this contraption will one day revolutionize the way that physicians treat burn patients. Another step closer to positive change. #Rewordit