3D-printed skin grafts are poised to transform reconstructive surgery

When it comes to 3D printing, most people think of common objects, both large and small: houses, toys, tools, and such. But researchers have been busy at work using the technology for medical purposes, figuring out how to do things like print eye cells and create futuristic casts. TeVido BioDevices is counted amongst this latter category, working on 3D-printing skin grafts for patients.

TeVido BioDevices is working on 3D-printing skin grafts specifically for breast cancer survivors, working on research that will use the patient's own cells to create the grafts. For now, the company has successfully printed a nipple for use in reconstructive surgery, and holds the promise of expanding that to aid in all sorts of procedures.

The grafts can be used for both cosmetic and medical needs, being used to, for example, correct scars from surgery. The benefit of using skin grafts printed from one's own cells is how the body reacts to them: they're living and integrated, don't require future maintenance, and could, when the technology permits, be color-matched to the patient's skin.

For now, the technology only supports creating small grafts, but work is being done to expand that for larger grafts, as well. It is estimated a final product will reach the market in five years, but for now everything continues onward as research.

SOURCE: TechCrunch