Cadavers beware! 3D printers will be taking your jobs in the near future. According to the Medical Science Educator the medical education community is heavily investing in 3D printing to help educate the next generation of doctors. Cadavers have been used for centuries as the primary way medical students learn about human anatomy and medical issues. Although obtaining cadavers is a lot easier now than in the past, working with human bodies still poses many challenges for the medical community.
First and foremost is the issue of how to morally disect and dispose of once living people. All cadavers used are those donated by people with or without the consent of living family and this can cause legal issues later on. Secondly there can be many anomalies within bodies that medical educators cannot control that can confuse students. So becuase of the use of human bodies as educational material there is no standard that can be in place. Especially when the majority of people do not decide to donate their bodies when they die so for medical students and instructors its a "you get what you get" situation.
This is where 3D printers come in. Although the technology is still devolving, the end goal is that instructors can print a model of any human body part for their students to disect and study. Not only would this end up being a faster, cheaper way to study the human body, it also eliminates the moral issues surroundings the use of human bodies for science. Classrooms are already using 3D printers to study bone and organ anatomy, such as the 3D printed liver shown above. So as 3D printing advances hopefully we will start seeing whole 3D printed bodies to help train the worlds future doctors.