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For doctors and medical researchers repairing the human body, a 3D printer has become almost as valuable as an x-ray machine, microscope, or a sharp scalpel. Bioengineers are using 3D printers to make more durable hip, knee joints and prosthetic limbs.

Every implant looks different and can be shaped precisely to the patient’s bone. Speed of production is also important when looking to save a limb, which makes 3D printing the perfect candidate technology.

For the first time in Bulgaria, a patient received a polymer 3D printed rib implant. 35-year-old Ivaylo Josifov had to have his fifth rib removed due to a growth, and doctors used 3D printing to perfectly recreate the size and shape of the original rib so that the implant could fit into the patient with no complications.

3D printed bones are yet another revolutionary application of 3D printing technology. Though it’s still an emerging field of research, it has the potential to change the face of medicine.