3D Printing in the Medical Industry
Advancements in 3D Printing have captured the attention of the medical industry, and 3D Printing has improved the procedure of many treatments throughout the industry. A radiologist, for instance, might create an exact replica of a patient’s spine to help plan a surgery; a dentist could scan a broken tooth to make a crown that fits precisely into the patient’s mouth. In both these cases, doctors can use 3D Printing to print out parts according to the patient’s need, and specific to the patient’s body.
It has been forecast that 3D printing in the medical field will be worth $3.5bn by 2025, compared to $713.3m in 2016. The industry’s compound annual growth rate is supposed to reach 17.7% between 2017 and 2025.
3D Printing in the medical industry is used for 4 main reasons – creating tissues and organoids, surgical tools, patient-specific surgical models, and custom-made prosthetics.
Creating Tissues and Organoids –
The process of 3D printing out tissues and organs is known as bioprinting. Bioprinting isn’t as fast as traditional 3D Printing, because bioprinting uses bio-ink. Bio-inks are materials used to produce engineered/artificial live tissue using 3D printing. These inks are mostly composed of the cells that are being used but are often used in tandem with additional materials that envelope the cells. Bio-inks allow the adhesion and proliferation of living cells. Bioprinting lays layers of living cells over one another. Maturation of the cell is a part of the process, as the cells have to grow and proliferate. These tissue constructs or organoids can be used for medical research as they mimic organs on a miniature scale. They are also being trialed as cheaper alternatives to human organ transplants.
Custom-Made Prosthetics. –
It is very common for prosthetics to take months to be made, but not with 3D Printed parts. They are cheaper and can be manufactured faster. The lower price point of these products makes them particularly applicable for use with children, who quickly outgrow their prosthetic limbs. The best advantage of using 3D Printed Parts is that they can be rapidly customized according to case by case basis and patient by patient requirements. Major examples, where this method is helpful, include joint replacements, cranial implants, and dental restorations.
3D Printing also provides many advantages over traditional methods. To create parts with complex geometries like for knee replacements where porous structures help facilitate tissue growth and integration, 3D Printing has been proven as a solution over traditional methods. While traditional methods require the fabrication of several parts and then screwing or welding them together, 3D Printing does the job by creating the entire complex part in one go! To check out the entire list of reasons why 3D Printing is better than traditional methods and where it lacks behind, click here.
Surgical Tools –
Sterile surgical instruments, such as forceps, hemostats, scalpel handles, and clamps, can be produced using 3D printers. 3D Printing can be used to create the tiniest tools, which help doctors to work precisely on the area under operation without damaging any other cells. The biggest advantage of using 3D Printing for making surgical tools is that the production costs drop significantly.
Patient-Specific Surgical Models –
Lastly, this is one of the key uses of 3D Printing. Before performing complex surgeries, doctors can practice on the exact replica of the patient, which is 3D Printed. This method helps to reduce the trauma experienced by the patient. This can help reduce the time and cost of the surgery also. In Dubai, where hospitals have a mandate to use 3D printing liberally, doctors successfully operated on a patient who had suffered a cerebral aneurysm in four veins, using a 3D printed model of her arteries to map out how to safely navigate the blood vessels.
This was just a gist of the applications of 3D Printing in the medical industry. As this technology advances, I’m sure that 3D Printing is going to become an integral part of the medical industry, and the scope of jobs in this industry will always increase in the future. Stay tuned for further blogs on this topic! To know more about our course on Rapid Prototyping using 3D Printing, call our counselor at 9372941417 now! This course is accompanied by Assured Internships and Job Assistance, with a chance to work in the Medical Industry with Innoweave Biotech. Call us Now!
Still at student, Arya is going to studying Mechanical Engineering at The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He aspires to be an entrepreneur in the future, and is an intern right now at Text and Clicks. He is very enthusiastic and hard working, and loves adventure.