Transforming Advancement Of 3D Printing in The Medical Industry

3D printing is doing a commendable job in the medical industry, and it’s transforming how doctors offer treatment. In addition, this innovative technology is a boon for medical research and development. Fascinatingly, biotech engineers can create 3D models of organs that have been damaged by cancer or any other disease process. In recent times, it is feasible in many cases through organ modelling, rehabilitation and transplantation procedures.

In this 3d printing in medical industry free eBook, we will learn how the technology evolves in medical research and procedures to design devices, models, implants, surgical instruments, and other therapeutic products. The market size of 3d printing in the medical domain is $2.4 billion, and it’s expected to touch $5.8 billion by 2030.




Table of Contents:
  1. 3D Printing History
  2. Introduction Of 3D Printing in The Medical Industry
  3. 3D Printing Benefits Over Traditional Methods
  4. 3D Printing Technologies Used in The Medical Domain
  5. Common 3D Printing Materials in The Medical Industry
  6. Future Of 3D Printing Technology in The Medical Industry

3D Printing History

The additive manufacturing technology was developed by Charles Hull in 1984 and is used when a three-dimensional object is created from a digital file.  In the beginning, it was usually employed in creating prototypes for product design. Earlier researchers of Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine created synthetic scaffolds. For example, researchers use bio-organic ink to make a bone-like structure through 3D printing technology.  It’s now being employed in the medical field for reconstructive surgeries and implantable body parts.

Over the years, it has been taken up for research by scientists to create implants, artificial body parts and other therapeutic devices. For example, in 2014, a patient was provided with a 3d printed skull implant that restored his face-to-face interactions due to facial deformities. It is just the beginning of developing new products in this industry.

3d printing in healthcare industry
Personalized 3d printed casts

Introduction Of 3D Printing in The Medical Industry

The technology is used to create high precision implantable body parts and devices. According to a study, 3D printed products possess up to 95% accuracy in their dimensions. The FDA has approved additive manufacturing for making customized prosthetics, implants, clamps and other therapeutic devices. Moreover, it’s also being employed in several medical schools worldwide.
3D printing creates internal organs or even body parts with cells. But this process of manufacturing is labour intensive and costly. Nowadays, companies are using technology to produce affordable products that are easy to use worldwide. As a result, the 3d printing market has witnessed a dramatic change in the past few years.

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Nowadays, researchers can successfully create a variety of 3D printed medical parts for manufacturing an artificial limb, bone implants, dental devices and surgical instruments. In addition, one of the most crucial aspects of deriving advantage from this technology is that it can be employed for treating different kinds of medical problems or diseases.
The most successful advancement of 3D printing in healthcare is customized prosthetics and implants. However, this is not the only area where 3D printing is used for manufacturing products. It’s also being employed to develop medical devices like dialysis machines and continence aids.

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3D Printing Benefits Over Traditional Methods

Additive manufacturing outperforms conventional methods in several areas and offers more on-demand solutions to patients. Some of the key advantages of 3D printing technology over traditional methods are:

Low Cost for Smaller Parts

Manufacturers can save money by employing this technology for creating small parts. For example, it’s used in the medical industry to create customized implants that are expensive and very time-consuming during production.

Precise Results Through CAD

With the help of computer-aided design (CAD) equipment, manufacturers can create a product that satisfies all healthcare quality standards.

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No Need for Molds

In conventional manufacturing processes, workers have to use several molds for creating one product. However, it is not necessary when using 3d printing technology for producing similar products.

Variety Of Material from One Process

With this technology, manufacturers can 3D print products using different materials. It is not possible with the conventional manufacturing processes that offer limited options for creating an object.

Minimum Wastage

Additive manufacturing doesn’t involve any wastage because it can produce objects as per the exact need. It is one of the primary reasons several organizations adopt this technology in the medical industry to create customized products.

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Professional 3D-printed-cast
3d printed medical equipment

3D Printing Technologies Used in The Medical Domain

Medical 3d printing is becoming more extensive with every passing day. Researchers are leveraging a variety of additive techniques to deliver a suitable treatment. Some of the key technologies are:

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

FDM is one of the most used 3D printing technologies in the medical industry. This process employs liquefied raw material and is then deposited through a small nozzle for creating an object layer by layer. As a result, FDM is ideal for creating several medical equipment parts.
Printers using FDM can manufacture custom prosthetics, implants, orthopedic braces and dental models. This technology is beneficial for creating small objects within a brief timeframe.

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Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS is another 3D printing technology that manufacturers use to produce customized prosthetics. It’s also being used for creating implantable medical devices, organ tissue and bone replacements.
This additive manufacturing method employs a laser beam that melts and bonds raw material particles to create a solid object. This technology is sensitive and can print objects with great precision.

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Common 3D Printing Materials in The Medical Industry

Below are some safe and widely-used materials that researchers and manufacturers use to create high-quality products:
  • PLA
  • Nylon
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • ABS
  • PLA
  • PCL
  • PMMA and many more
3d printed medical equipment
3d printed medical part

Future Of 3D Printing Technology in The Medical Industry

The benefits of 3D printing in the medical domain will make this technology even more accessible and affordable. In addition, as it becomes common among healthcare providers, we’ll see the introduction of many great products and treatment options for patients.
Although additive manufacturing is gaining momentum with each passing day, its broader application still needs to be optimized. For instance, this technology’s speed is slightly lower compared to conventional manufacturing processes. Also, it requires a lot of trial and error before creating any product that satisfies all quality standards.

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This technology will become more refined with time, and we’ll see many new features in 3D printers for medical use. For instance, researchers are now working on production systems that will reconfigure themselves to meet the demands of healthcare providers.
3D printing technologies are helping patients get customized products. As a result, they’re becoming more prevalent in medical practices, particularly for creating prosthetics and implants, which used to be expensive and time-consuming. With new technologies like 3D bioprinting gaining momentum, we can expect a lot more from the medical industry in the future.

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Wrapping Up!

3D printing has transformed modern-day manufacturing processes, and its impact on the healthcare sector is becoming more evident. Therefore, more research is under process to improvise additive technologies to give a more precise treatment to patients.
3D printing in manufacturing in the medical domain is becoming more extensive with every passing day. As this technology will become more accessible and affordable, we can expect a lot more from the medical industry in the future.
3D Printed Orthopedic Casts
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