Muslim-friendly way to 3D-printed implants

Kelly Clarke /Dubai Filed on January 28, 2016
Muslim-friendly way to 3D-printed implants
Sample medical products printed on 3d Printing Machines at the Arab Health 2016 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

(Dhes Handumon)

"Body modifications are prohibited in Islam. If it is for a medical need, it is acceptable."

Body modification for beautification is not permissible in Islam as it falls in the category of unnecessary interference, alteration and mutilation of Allah's creation. Though 3D-printed

Future of 3D printing in medicine

While an entire organ has yet to be successfully 3D-printed for practical surgical use, scientists and researchers have successfully printed kidney cells, sheets of cardiac tissue that beat like a real heart and the foundations of a human liver, among many other organ tissues. One exciting step towards printing human organs comes from the University of Florida where researchers have developed a way of printing complex objects in gel, a method that could help pave the way to 3D-printed organs in the future.

implants for purposes of medical reconstruction are permissible, they still leave a fixed foreign material inside the body. As such, a new device which is yet to make it to the UAE could be the culturally-sympathetic answer.

"We 3D print bone scaffolds. The scaffold is implanted to provide sufficient load-bearing support but unlike plastic or titanium implants, this encourages tissue regeneration and breaks down over time," Lee Kean Sang from Singapore-based Osteopore told Khaleej Times on the third day of Arab Health 2016.

Though these mesh-like bone scaffolds act in a similar way to bone grafting, the magic behind it is "tissue engineering".

"Solid 3D-printed structures can affect the human tissue because it is a fixed implant," Sang said.

But this micro-structured implant promotes tissue and cell growth in and around it.

"After 6-18 months, depending on the size of the wound and the type of tissue repair, the material will slowly break down." And it is this particular feature that works well with the culture here, he said.

"Body modifications are prohibited in Islam. If it is for a medical need, it is acceptable, but I think this product is more culturally friendly for this region. It is one step ahead of the current 3D-printed implants as they are permanently fixed in the body."

The custom-fit bioresorbable implant fits perfectly with the need of the patient and saves up to 70 per cent of the doctor's time in the operating theatre. It also lowers the risk of infection because it has a perfect connection with the bone.


Kelly Clarke

Originally from the UK, Kelly Clarke joined Khaleej Times in November 2012. She has a keen interest in humanitarian issues and took over as the dedicated Education Reporter in August 2016. In her spare time she loves to travel off the beaten track, and often write about her quirky experiences of pastures new. Kelly received her BA Honours in Journalism from Middlesex University, UK in 2008. Before joining Khaleej Times she worked as a Supervising Editor for three Healthcare titles in London. @KellyAnn_Clarke