The Department of Defense spends hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons of war each year. These dollars are spent protecting the United States of America, and now includes spending money on procedures that also help people instead of destroying them.
Recent findings indicate that the Department of Defense and the United States Army are investigating a variety of applications for the new technology of 3D printing. Many of these discoveries are exciting, such as the ability to print bunkers and other structures in enemy terrain. But perhaps most interesting is the possibility of using 3D printing to enable higher quality facial reconstruction.
Facial reconstruction has come a long way in the last 30 years, but it is still behind many other medical procedures. The current process is half-art and half-science, and there are not nearly enough truly talented surgeons to allow all the people who suffer serious disfigurement to benefit. This new technology could be the breakthrough people have been waiting for. The potential uses for this technology are many, including:
- the ability to print perfect replicas of the person’s face before the injury;
- printing a replica face out of a substance called polycaprolactone;
- Printing replacement cartilage and other hard tissues that the body has difficulty replacing.
There are thousands of people who suffer serious disfigurement each year, often through no fault of their own. As this will be a new procedure, it will certainly be expensive, and it very well might not be covered by insurance, at least initially. If you or someone you love has been disfigured in an accident, please contact an attorney to help you obtain the resources you need to get any treatment that becomes available, no matter how cost prohibitive.