3-D printing has been around in various forms since the 1980s, originally as a means of quickly producing affordable prototypes for the manufacturing industry. Recently, researchers have found some amazing healthcare and biological applications for 3-D printing technology, called bioprinting. As a result, the 3-D printing market for healthcare is predicted to reach roughly 4.04 billion by 2018. From custom prosthetics to living tissue, 3-D printing is a versatile means of providing cost effective and individualized care to patients.
With the advent of 3-D bioprinting, cells can now be dispensed from the printer onto a biologically compatible scaffolding, layer by layer, to create a three dimensional viable tissue. Numerous tissues have been constructed that can be used for a number of clinical applications from transplants to scientific research.