Geeking Science: 3D Printed Skin

Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

3D printing promises many changes which will restructure entire industries, none more promising than the medical field. Already 3D printing is making prothesis for children possible in ways never before, including quick adjustments for growth, different prothesis for different activities, and all the colors and pattern to make it “cool”.

Actual medical replacement of body parts with living tissue have moved more slowly. 3D tissue printing, using a patient’s DNA, is a medical holy grail – no rejection! No lifetime of drugs and suppressed immunity! The challenge is developing the software for printing the parts and creating the “ink” from DNA to print the parts.

Printing of organs – like hearts, lungs, livers, and other highly needed transplants – require scaffolding and the uniqueness of each individual “space” for the organs. Each of these is a one-off and means life-or-death for a person. Internal organs will always require highly skill technical assistance in creation and insertion so long as technology is creating the organs outside the body.

Two products, not as specialized as organs but which are constantly required, would revolutionize the Emergency Room if 3d printing tech machines because as easy to hook up and use as an IV line.

Blood and Skin.

Most Americans understand the constant shortage of blood.

Skin is just as needed. For burn and abrasion events. To seal holes from violence and accidents to prevent infection. To heal scars. To replace skin after skin cancer surgery. To fix gingivitis.

Printing skin for burn victims works about as well as the bandages we have right now.

The problem is skin isn’t JUST skin. It has blood vessels. To bond the printed-skin to the body, it needs to be connected to the network of blood and other fluids.

Recently scientists have figured out how to leave a tunnel in the printed-skin which, when attached to a living system, will be converted into blood vessels.

One step closer to every ER having a machine where the techs and nurses just scrape back the damage, dump bio-waste in the machine to use the DNA base, and print the new skin on the body. Burns over half the leg will become an overnight observation to make sure the bond is complete, and the person is sent home. Scraped arms from a fall down the mountain, sealed with the printed-skin  to prevent infection and healed without scars. Dental surgery to cover gingivitis clefts will no longer have to steal skin from other places in the mouth, making two injuries, but instead will be a quick scrap – come back in three days – and fix the gums.

Oh, and once mouth “skin” is mastered – replacement teeth will be possible too. (Did you know that teeth are skin, not bone?) Imagine, no more root canals with fake teeth replacements – but whole and healthy teeth!


Gander, Kashmira. “3D-printed Living Skin With Blood Vessels Created by Scientists.” Newsweek. 2019 November 4. (last viewed 3/31/2022)