3D printing is one of the newest and most versatile forms of rapid prototyping and prosthetic development. 3D printing is an additive method of manufacturing where layers of photopolymer plastic, wax, ceramics, or even living tissue are stacked vertically to create three-dimensional objects from a CAD model. While 3D printing, like that done at places like EIGERlab, has picked up an enthusiast following that uses the technology for consumer applications, there are several medical applications of 3D printing as well.
3D printing has provided an alternate method for creating functional prosthetics. Facial replacements like prosthetic ears or noses can be created without the expensive process of sculpting a wax replica and creating a silicone cast from the replica. Instead, the injured area is digitally photographed, and the photograph is converted to a digital model that a 3D printer can use to create a prosthetic. This reduces the time it takes to produce prosthetics and also allows replacement prosthetics to be created more easily if the original is damaged.
Researchers from Washington State University have even used 3D printers to create temporary replacement bone. When a patient has a fractured bone or skull, a CT scan is taken of the damaged area and the scan results are converted to a CAD model. The temporary replacement is made from a composite of calcium phosphate, silicon and zinc. The bone surrounding the damaged area can grow onto the replacement bone and heal until the replacement dissolves, leaving healthy bone in its place.
Dentistry is one of the most promising fields for the rapid uptake and expansion of 3D printing. Currently the biggest use for 3D printing in dentistry is for practicing invasive procedures. MRI and CT scans can be used to create 3D replicas of patients’ jawbones and teeth. These replicas can be used for practice runs by oral surgeons so that they are familiar with a patient’s periodontal structure, minimizing the risk of accidental damage during the actual procedure.
3D printing can also be used to create functional dental prosthetics. 3D printing dental crowns and implants will be much cheaper than dental porcelain and ceramic, and will soon be comparable in strength to traditional materials. Oral surgeons are also experimenting with large-scale maxillofacial replacements. Oral surgeons at the Biomedical Research Institute of Hasselt University have succeeded in implanting a 3D printed titanium mandibular implant in an 83-year-old woman
Doctors are experimenting with using 3D printing to supplement complex structures on the inside of the human body. While full 3D printed organs like kidneys, hearts, and lungs cannot yet be created, surgeons are able to supplement damaged organs with 3D printed materials to improve their function. 3D printing these materials is much more affordable than creating them using traditional methods, and they are often more accurately designed since they can be made from the results of body scans that are fed directly to the 3D printer.
Tracheomalacia is a life-threatening condition that has been treated with 3D printing. In this condition, some of the tissue in the trachea is not strong enough to support breathing, periodically collapsing and cutting off the airway. 3D splints can be inserted in the airway to hold it open in the area where it normally collapses.
Surgeons have also implanted artificial heart valves made from 3D printing. Specially designed 3D printers can create heart valves from living tissues. This is especially useful for newborns with congenital heart defects, whose hearts cannot typically support prosthetic valves made from artificial materials.
3D printing will continue to revolutionize the medical field as the technology further develops. Doctors may soon be able to provide full prosthetic limbs and complete organ replacements made from 3D printed materials.Learn More
Back pain is one of the most common complaints among Americans today. Even though there are many causes of chronic back pain, many people are doing simple things everyday that compound into unbearable pain later. Take a look at the following list to see whether you are inadvertently causing yourself back pain (and should maybe see a chiropractic professional).
Using A Laptop On Your Lap
You’re probably comfortable checking your email or working from home sitting on the couch with your laptop and a cup of coffee, but your back doesn’t agree. Sitting with the laptop on the lap naturally creates bad posture. When typing with a laptop on your lap:
Doing The Wrong Ab Workouts
It’s important to work your abs in order to get sufficient core strength– in fact, having a strong core can prevent back pain because the abdominal muscles will help to stabilize movement through the spine. However, many people work the abs incorrectly, placing intense force on the back.
Sit ups, for example, are one of the worst exercises for the spine. They force the natural curve of of the spine to the floor and increase pressure on the hip flexors. As this muscles tighten, they begin to pull at muscles in the back, leading to intense lower back pain.
To strengthen core strength in a healthy manner, it’s better to so exercises that keep the stomach toward the ground, like planks with leg lifts.
Wearing High Heels
Sit ups may flatten out the natural curve of the spine, but wearing heels does the opposite. It causes the spine to over-curve in order to compensate for the artificial tilt that heels provide. The foot should not be elevated in this way, because it eventually causes the muscles in the back and legs to shorten, and it can can make the tendons in the foot stiff and inflexible. As the body adapts to heel wearing, muscle spasms in the back and legs become more common. You are also at a greater risk for injury because the shifting of weight makes you more prone to falls.
Wearing A Heavy Backpack
Students have a hard life, but their backs probably take the worst hit during long school days. Nearly 1 out of 5 students see a doctor for back pain during schools, and doctors believe that heavy packs are the cause. Carrying too much weight in bag on the back causes the body to overcompensate by leaning forward, which strains the shoulders, the neck, and puts more stress on the curve of the spine. When you need to carry a pack for school or work:
If you suffer from an ongoing medical condition, you might feel pre-programmed to head to your local drug store to fill your prescriptions. Although you have to remind your pharmacist time and time again what you need and how to spell your last name, you might feel like those grocery store pharmacies are your only option. Fortunately, compounding pharmacies, also called apothecaries, offer prescription drug services you can’t find anywhere else. Here are three reasons you should head to your local compounding pharmacy or a site like http://www.pottershouserx.com next time instead of that place on the corner.
1: Compounding Pharmacists Receive Additional Training
After reading a classic novel, you might wonder what happened to those jolly little shops where pharmacists created drugs from scratch behind the counter. These days, traditional pharmacies order bulk quantities of drugs directly from pharmaceutical companies, and pharmacy techs mostly focus on putting the right number of pills into orange vials.
However, compounding pharmacies add a little old-school touch to filling your medications. In addition to attending traditional pharmacy school, compounding pharmacists also receive special training for how to mix and administer medications. To keep you happy and comfortable, compounding pharmacists also study how different drugs react with hormone replacement therapies and lifestyle choices.
Compounding pharmacies are still regulated by state boards and checked for quality assurance, so that you won’t have to worry about your pharmacist going rogue. Instead, compounding pharmacists can offer you deep insights about your medications, so that you can make better healthcare decisions.
2: You Will Receive Friendly, Personalized Care
When you visit traditional pharmacies, you might hear “Next,” and “Please stay behind the line” more than a few times. In an effort to hurry people through, many regular pharmacy staff members can sound a little frank and impersonal when they meet with patients. However, if you are looking for a pharmacy with a friendly, personalized touch, you should try your local apothecary.
Unlike many traditional pharmacy staff members, compounding pharmacists think of the big picture when it comes to your healthcare. Instead of simply filling your prescription and sending you on your way, compounding pharmacists will sit down with you, discuss your symptoms, and talk with you about your treatment goals.
If your compounding pharmacist hears about a problem, he or she might take the time to call your doctor and discuss alternative options. For example, if you get headaches when you take those pain pills for your back, your compounding pharmacist might talk with your doctor about recommending physical therapy to alleviate your symptoms instead. By working with your compounding pharmacist, you can develop a multi-faceted approach to your treatment.
3: Compounding Pharmacists Can Customize Your Medication
What will you do if your Crohn’s Disease medication gets discontinued? Although your doctor might recommend a similar drug, it isn’t always easy to switch treatment regimens. Fortunately, compounding pharmacists can mix and match existing medications to create a formulation customized especially for you. Here are a few ways they can help:
By taking advantage of the services offered by your local compounding pharmacy, you might be able to enjoy fewer side effects, and make a new friend.Learn More
As people age it sometimes becomes more difficult to get in our out of a typical recliner. It’s the same story for those who are physically challenged. A lift chair makes this task so much easier. Available in several styles and degrees of lift, these handy devices are cleverly disguised as your average recliner. The only way you can tell the difference is when someone pushes the button and that “recliner” starts to tilt.
How Lift Chairs Work
Lift chairs use either one or two motors to operate, depending on the style. The chair is mounted on a separate base, which allows it to move. When the user is ready to get up, a button is pushed and the entire chair tilts forward. Push another button and the chair folds back down and resumes its recliner disguise.
Types of Lift Chairs
There are four basic types of lift chairs currently on the market
Two Position Chairs
Two position chairs lift but they also slightly recline. This chair is meant for sitting only since it doesn’t recline far enough for comfortable sleeping.
Three Position Chairs
These chairs lift and have two reclining positions. One is the seated position described above, the other is a flatter position that most people find comfortable for sleeping.
Infinite Position Chairs
This chair is like those ultra-modern seats found in some airlines’ first class cabins. Like these “sleeper” airline seats, these fully recline. Usually the back and the foot support move independently to assure maximum comfort. Some models also allow tilting in the Trendelenburg position, sometimes recommended for people with low blood pressure. This puts your feet higher than your heart, allowing easier blood flow to the brain.
Zero Gravity Chairs
These are similar to the infinite position chairs, but they use two motors to move the chair into a reclining position. The seat box moves independently of the back, much like an adjustable car seat. Many models that allow the Trendelenburg position are also zero gravity chairs.
Benefits of Lift Chairs
Trading in your favorite recliner for a lift chair doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. Think about it. You’ll have a brand new chair that’s just as comfortable and that is truly yours. If anyone else decides to take a seat, you should feel perfectly justified in booting them out.
Click to read more about lift chairs.Learn More
Are you feeling anxious about your dentist’s recommendation to undergo wisdom teeth removal? It may help to, first of all, get some perspective: at least you don’t have to undergo the removal of 232 wisdom teeth, as a teenager in India did. The result of a benign dental tumor, these “denticles” had all formed in the lower part of his jaw in the area where wisdom teeth are located. The surgery took six hours, but he recovered well and will have quite a story to tell for the rest of his life.
You, on the other hand, probably just have one set of teeth that require removal, and your surgery will take about an hour. Because this is a routine dental procedure, it will likely be unremarkable, and you will not have an epic story to tell–but that’s the point. Here is some information to allay your anxiety and help you with the preparation for your oral surgery.
Wisdom teeth: not always wonderful
Wisdom teeth, so named because they usually erupt during the late adolescent years (the “age of wisdom,” supposedly), are the molars at the rear of the mouth. They do not perform any necessary function, and usually cause more trouble than good.
Sometimes, because there is not enough room in most people’s mouths for this final set of molars, wisdom teeth will crowd other teeth. This causes teeth to become crooked.
At other times, wisdom teeth do not erupt at all–a condition called impaction–and instead move sideways against teeth below the gum line. If your dentist has recommended that you have your wisdom teeth removed, it is probably due to these two reasons.
Preparing for E(xtraction)-Day
Prior to your procedure, the oral surgeon will have you
fill out a medical questionnaire so that any health conditions or allergies are well documented
read over a set of instructions to follow prior to the surgery, such as to avoid eating after midnight the night before
arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home
The doctor may also review with you the medications you will be given as part of the anesthesia.
It will be over before you know it–really!
Once you arrive at your appointment, the assistant will make you comfortable. You will probably be given a sedative to help you relax, and the dentist will give you local anesthesia to numb your mouth. Then you will be given the general anesthesia that will put you to sleep.
While you are unconscious, the dentist will extract your teeth. If they are impacted, this will involve making incisions in your gums and then reaching in to pull the teeth out. Once the procedure is complete, you will be wheeled to a recovery area until you wake up.
When you wake up, you will feel groggy; this is why you need someone to drive you home. Once home, you may have some bleeding for the first few hours. Take the prescribed painkilling and/or anti-inflammatory medication suggested by the surgeon to reduce pain and swelling.
Do not use a straw or swish water in your mouth; doing either can dislodge the clots that form over the wounds and lead to a painful complication. Eat lightly for the first day or two, and then as tolerated. Your dentist may have other recommendations listed in the discharge instructions, so read and follow them carefully.
Remember, wisdom teeth extraction is less anxiety-producing if you are prepared, so if you still have questions, ask to speak directly to the oral surgeon.
Also, remember to maintain perspective: millions of wisdom teeth extractions are done each year without incident. Unlike the teen in India, your oral surgery will probably not result in 15 minutes of fame and a life story that will turn the stomachs of your listeners. And that should put everything in proper perspective.
Continue to read more.Learn More
Acne is a common concern for many people, but once your acne is under control you may be faced with long-term scarring that can be equally frustrating. There are at-home and professional treatments that can diminish the look of acne scars, even if they are decades old.
Try At-Home Exfoliation
Although there are many facial scrubs available, when you are trying to diminish the look of hyperpigmented acne scars, the minor abrasiveness of a facial scrub may not be enough. Rotating exfoliating brushes are popular tools used for the face. If you want to purchase one, look for brushes that have different types of exfoliating brush heads or pads so you can find one that best suits your skin type.
In general, you should start with an exfoliating brush that is meant for normal skin, unless you know your skin is sensitive. Use the exfoliating brush on a discreet area of your face, as instructed, until you can determine if the brush causes any irritation. If you notice any problems with irritation, try switching to a brush or exfoliating pad for sensitive skin. Daily use of exfoliating brushes is typically discouraged. Aim for exfoliating once or twice per week. When choosing an exfoliating brush, make sure you choose one that is antimicrobial to reduce the chance of breakouts from bacteria growth.
An easier and less expensive alternative is using a soft toothbrush that is only used for your facial care routine. You can use the toothbrush with your favorite non-exfoliating facial cleanser and work around your face in small, circular motions. When you are finished with the toothbrush, allow it to air dry and consider dipping the toothbrush in rubbing alcohol to keep the toothbrush sterilized. Before use, you may want to dip the toothbrush in alcohol again and allow it to dry, to ensure you are not adding bacteria to your face.
Not all acne scars are the same. If your acne scars have caused craters or other indentations in your skin, you need to have the areas filled to minimize their appearance and even out your skin texture. A dermatologist can suggest the appropriate fillers for the severity of your acne scars and the area of your face that needs treatment. Most fillers used for acne scars are made from hyaluronic acid and may last up to a year before you need another treatment. Although the use of temporary fillers can seem like an inconvenience, if you are not satisfied with the results, the filler will simply dissolve over time.
Consider Laser Treatments
If you would rather invest in a treatment option with long-term results, laser treatments can be a better option. Laser treatments can improve various types of acne scars, both scars that have changed the color, and scars that have changed the texture, of your skin. One such option is laser resurfacing, which uses lasers to exfoliate the outer layer of skin. Unlike at-home exfoliation methods, the entire outer layer of skin can be removed, which encourages new layers of skin to push toward the surface.
Another type of laser treatment is known as focal area scar treatment (FAST), which is more precise than other types of laser treatment. FAST can pinpoint areas of scarring and prevent unnecessary irritation to unscarred areas of your skin. With any type of laser treatment, the speed of results will depend on the depth of your scars. Hyperpigmented areas are usually easier to treat than scars that have created indentations in the skin.
With dedication, you can often improve the appearance of hyperpigmented acne scars with at-home methods. If you have substantial scarring, there are several dermatological procedures available to improve or eliminate visible reminders of acne.
Click here for more information, or contact a local skin care clinic.Learn More
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2012, over 87 percent of Americans polled admitted to drinking alcohol at least once in their lifetime. If you’ve recently learned a friend, family member or your spouse is pregnant, you want to encourage them to enjoy a safe, healthy pregnancy – which includes completely giving up alcohol. Whether this expectant mother is a casual drinker or you’re worried she has a serious problem, it’s vital she understands how consuming alcohol can negatively impact her baby. Here are a few tips you can utilize to help your pregnant loved one stop drinking and start creating a safe, healthy environment for her growing baby:
Arm Yourself With Knowledge
Prior to sitting down with your loved one to discuss her drinking, it’s vital to familiarize yourself with the potentially harmful impact consuming alcohol can have on an unborn child:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the main causes of birth defects and other medical issues affecting fetuses is alcohol consumption. The risks of these birth defects can be completely eliminated if the mother doesn’t drink.
Drinking can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and low birth weight.
According to the March of Dimes, a fetus who is exposed to alcohol is at increased risk of several behavioral and physical issues later in life, including speech delays, behavioral issues and trouble sleeping.
Far and away, one of the biggest risks posed to an unborn child from their mother’s alcohol consumption is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, FAS. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of FAS can vary greatly, from mild to extremely severe, and include facial deformities, noticeably smaller heads and brains and vision issues.
Even if your loved one gave birth to a healthy baby while continuing to drink in the past, it’s no guarantee this child will be spared from the devastating effects of alcohol consumption.
These notions are scary, but they must be addressed, and will hopefully help your loved one make the decision to stop drinking.
Talking With Your Loved One
Once you’ve armed yourself with information about the impact drinking can have on an unborn child, it’s time to actually sit your friend, family member or spouse down and have a serious discussion.
If you’re nervous about this sit down, the Partnership For a Drug-Free America provides some tips:
Never confront your loved one if you’ve been drinking, or if they’ve been drinking. Instead, wait until you’re both level-headed and can have a serious discussion.
Start the conversation when you and your loved one have the time to talk. Never bring-up such a delicate subject if you’re both rushing out the door to work or getting ready for bed.
Don’t expect your loved one to accept your help, or even admit they have an issue. Even if you provide every scary statistic you can find, it still might not be enough.
Know when you’re out of your league. If your loved one has suffered from a serious alcohol issue for years and you’re truly concerned for their health and the health of the baby, don’t hesitate to contact a substance abuse treatment professional.
Stick around and provide as much support as you can. Don’t take on your loved one’s burdens or live their life for them and instead, be there as a shoulder to cry on or someone to offer a few kind words.
Despite your best efforts, your loved one might to continue drinking throughout her pregnancy. However, instead of accepting this as inevitable and you’re powerless, don’t give-up. Don’t ever stop supporting your loved one while you continue to encourage them to give up alcohol once-and-for-all.Learn More