Trials are currently being done with patients having bladder transplants that were created from their own cells and printed in a Dot Matrix-like printer (around $200,000 for the printer) and then surgically implanted in the patient. The true genius of the organ printing is the cells are taken from the person having the transplant, which greatly reduced the possibility of rejection. Imagine having skin tissue printed for a burn patient versus them having to undergo to skin grafts!

This will change many aspects of how transplant surgery will take place in the future, possibly requiring hospitals to add organ-printing plants next to ORs. Waits for Organ donors and matches will be greatly reduced and the amount of surgeries will increase. Currently, 19 people die every day (6,764 per year) in the United States while waiting for an organ transplant. These numbers do not take into consideration skin and muscle transplants.

It’s incredible to think of the implications this newest technology will have on the process flow, similar to cardiac cath labs. It makes the hospital OR look like a scene right out of Face Off with Nicolas Cage and John Travolta in which they print a face ready for transplant. Science fiction is coming to life in medicine. Below are two videos from different groups working on the technology now.