Wow, wow, wow, the miracles of modern-day science and medicine. Imagine being able to grow or manipulate your own nose from your own cells and cartilage into the shape and size you want. Scientists and researchers are now saying this is possible.
We’ve heard of robotic or prosthetic limbs and artificially grown organs; we’re now seeing the use of advanced 3D computer imaging to create “printouts” using cellular materials to create structures for implanting into patients to replace damaged or non-existent cartilage or organs. Whilst this technology is still evolving, it is something that has doctors and scientific researches excited, as it may mean a move away from using silicone or artificial implants and cartilage which always come with a chance of being rejected by the body. The idea and initial technology has been around for a few years now, however the practical application to humans is now becoming a reality. There are humans out there already walking around with artificial bladders, windpipes, and vaginas grown from their own cells in a laboratory.
The process is actually called “bioprinting” and constructs living tissue by layering living cells on top of one another to create the shape and size specified by the machine, which usually comes from a scan of the original body part.
So what does it mean for the plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery industry? Whilst the mind boggles at the potential ability to reprint our body and its parts, let’s start off “small”.
It means you may be able have your nose reconstructed using your own cartilage combined with stem cells and biopolymers into a shape that is both functional and desirable. It has the potential to reconstruct knees and assist people suffering from osteoarthritis by replacing damaged cartilage. It also has the potential to eventually replace foreign implant materials of any kind and to “regrow” your body to the shape and condition you want. This is still a long way off being available to the general public for cosmetic purposes; however it is being researched and tested as we speak.
I even read somewhere that we may be able to “reprint” our faces and use laser to shave off bits here and there!
Another aspect of the marvels of the plastic surgery industry as we move further into the 21st century!