In the last 100 years technology has evolved so rapidly, for most everyday people it’s hard to keep up with what is the stuff of science fiction from the movies we watched in the 80’s, to what actually exists in today’s world as a functioning and accessible reality.
Technology has never been so advanced and important than in the field of medicine. Billions of dollars are invested into the industry pushing scientists and researchers to invent new technology at a rate never imagined, to find cures and solutions for life-threatening diseases and physical impairments; and it has also entered the realm of plastic and cosmetic surgery. From the birth of X-rays in 1895, we have come such a long way in such a short time that sometimes it’s almost impossible to know where dreams stop and reality begins.
One of the more exciting things to have been perfected over the last ten years or so is 3D Printing. Used for hearing aids, teeth (95% of Invisalign braces are 3D printed!) and back braces; it also produces prosthetic (robotic) limbs such as fingers, hands, legs, noses and ears – all of which are connected to our own brains in order for us to be able to control these limbs that are not actually our own flesh.
Not only this, 3D Printing is moving towards being able to “print” actual bodily organs originating from our stem cells. This is known as Bioprinting and although it is still in its early stages of development, this is completely revolutionary in that it will enable patients who require life-saving organs or body parts to receive one specifically designed and created just for them.
Bioprinting has already been proven possible for a few patients who have received parts such as a windpipe or bladder, and it is expected that at some point in the not too distant future it will be utilised on a more regular basis for plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures such as creating a new nose in a Rhinoplasty, or for a breast augmentation instead of using foreign material implants that always have a chance of rejection or leakage.
With all of these new procedures and advances in techniques, it is increasingly difficult for medical professionals to keep up with these breakthroughs and implement real life application of them into surgery. However, tech companies and the medical industry are finding ways to have technology work for this purpose too.
We are seeing the emergence of apps such as Touch Surgery, which is a revolutionary new model for training and updating of knowledge for not just trainee medical professionals, but experienced surgeons looking to research, learn or simulate the latest technique or surgery before making any actual cuts on a patient. No longer do we have to wait years for surgeons to have access to these new techniques… they are becoming increasingly accessible through these apps. For example, check out the simulations for breast surgeries. Remarkable to think we have surgeons fine-tuning their knowledge via an app.
One thing is for sure; we are moving into the future at a rate where technology is revolutionising the way we look at our bodies and the medical world, and what is, and is not, possible. Hardly anything is seen as impossible in the future… it’s just a matter of time before our scientists, researchers and tech gurus make it possible.