Current Transplantation Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 93–99 | Cite as

3D Printing of Organs for Transplantation: Where Are We and Where Are We Heading?

  • Armando Salim Munoz-Abraham
  • Manuel I. Rodriguez-Davalos
  • Alessandra Bertacco
  • Brian Wengerter
  • John P. Geibel
  • David C. Mulligan
Tissue Engineering and Regeneration (JA Wertheim, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Tissue Engineering and Regeneration


In the field of transplantation, the demand for organs continues to increase and has far outpaced the supply. This ever-growing unmet need for organs calls for innovative solutions in order to save more lives. The development of new technologies in the field of biomedical engineering might be able to provide some solutions. With the advent of 3D bioprinting, the potential development of tissues or organ grafts from autologous cells might be within the reach in the near future. Based on the technology and platform used for regular 3D printing, 3D bioprinters have the ability to create biologically functional tissues by dispensing layer after layer of bioink and biogel that if left to mature with the proper environment will produce a functional tissue copy with normal metabolic activity. In the present day, 3D-bioprinted bladders, tracheal grafts, bone, and cartilage have proven to be functional after development and implantation in animal models and humans. Promising ongoing projects in different institutions around the world are focused on the development of 3D-bioprinted organs such as the livers and kidneys with integrated vasculature, in order for the tissue to be able to thrive once it has been transplanted. This review focuses on the background, the present, and the future of 3D bioprinting and its potential role in transplantation.


Organ engineering Regenerative medicine Tissue-engineered vascular grafts 3D bioprinting 3D printing 


Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Armando Salim Munoz-Abraham, Manuel I. Rodriguez-Davalos, Alessandra Bertacco, Brian Wengerter, John P. Geibel, and David C. Mulligan declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance.•• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Armando Salim Munoz-Abraham
    • 1
  • Manuel I. Rodriguez-Davalos
    • 1
  • Alessandra Bertacco
    • 1
  • Brian Wengerter
    • 1
  • John P. Geibel
    • 1
  • David C. Mulligan
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Transplantation and Immunology, Department of SurgeryYale University - School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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