The medical field is one of the many areas that 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize, a fact which is further demonstrated by new 3D printing technique that a group of researchers have created that enables them to print cartilage that could be used to repair damaged windpipes.
Believe it or not, scientists aren’t yet finished discovering new ways to 3D print body parts. A team at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has developed a 3D printing technique that lets them produce cartilage for repairing damaged tracheas, better known to you and I as windpipes. They use an off-the-shelf 3D printer (in this case, a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental) to create a scaffold for the cartilage out of the same PLA filament you’d use for everyday 3D printing projects. After that, they cover the scaffold in a mix of chondrocytes (healthy cartilage cells) and collagen, ‘baking’ it in a custom bioreactor to make sure the cells grow properly.