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In order to complete a 3D printed surgery, however, each wound will have to be sealed with a new layer of 3D printed skin. Right now, that would mean a generic hue of flesh that doesn't really blend with anyone's natural skin.
In a society so focused on our appearance, a large graft of off-colored flesh could stand out just as much as a severe burn. Thankfully, researchers at the University of Liverpool, U.K. are taking the first step toward individualized, natural looking 3D printed skin. It's a daunting undertaking, since each person's skin has a unique smattering of freckles, wrinkles and veins coursing through it. But the project's leader, Dr. Sophie Wuerger, has high hopes.
Dr. Wuerger and her group are working on a system which will tailor-print skin to match individual patients. To do this, the team is first developing a 3D scanning camera which will construct 3D images of a patient's skin in varying light levels. The data from these scans will then be used to print patient-specific skin grafts.
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