Medical 3D printing in the subject of a new paper from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland discussing the possibility of endoscopic 3D printing inside the body.
Using a photopolymer loaded needle, the Swiss team has 3D printed microstructures onto a slide, paving the way for a new potential means of regenerative therapy.
Paul Delrot, team leader at EPFL, explains, “With further development our technique could enable endoscopic microfabrication tools that would be valuable during surgery. These tools could be used to print micro- or nano-scale 3D structures that facilitate the adhesion and growth of cells to create engineered tissue that restores damaged tissues.”
Put a needle on it
The needle seen in pictures is an optical fiber, which is key to achieving fine resolution. To print, the fiber is dipped in a photopolymer ink which is then written and cured layer by layer to create a structure.
The idea with the EPFL approach is that it should be used together with a 3D printing technique that creates “bulk parts.” Together, Delrot says, “multi-resolution additive manufacturing could be achieved.”