3D Printing Technology in Medical Use

Medical applications of 3D printing technology are pegged as the next big thing in healthcare, expected to revolutionize the field of medicine. The actual and potential applications of this technology can be broadly categorized in terms of the creation of customized implants, prosthetics and anatomical models, organ and tissue fabrication, pharmaceutical research into drug dosage delivery, forms and discovery, says a study published in 2014 in the Journal of Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Gartner Inc. predicted in 2015 that by 2019, 10% of the people in the world would be living with 3D printed items on or in their bodies. It also stated that by 2019, 3D printing will be a critical tool in 35% of the surgical procedures that require prosthetic and implant devices.

One of the reasons for this shift has been the relatively low cost and smaller size of printers that make this technology easily accessible, allowing medical practitioners to provide personalized services.

Changing Trends

Here’s a look at some things we can expect from this revolutionary technology:

Prescription Glass: Keeping in mind the needs of every individual, personal eye wear that suits and fits you exclusively are being designed.

Dental Laboratories: Most of the laboratories providing dental care have adapted 3D printing services to increase production efficiency and precision. It has helped speed up the flow of patient diagnostic information between the dentist and the dental lab, according to experts at Revitalizing Smiles. The dentist scans the patient’s mouth quickly to obtain precise data and after analysis, the laboratory immediately begins the production of necessary components.

Hearing Aids: This is the industry that perhaps has the highest installed base of devices made with the use of 3D printers. These products not only offer the patient a solution in terms of hearing but also for fit and skin coloration.

The Reason for This Growth

Medical technologies are often very expensive when they enter the market and become cheaper only with time, but the new 3D printed solutions entered the market at a reasonable price. The shift towards this technology has the potential to put a check on the rising costs of medical treatments across the world.

What to Expect in the Future?

It is estimated that by 2019, about 10% of discrete manufacturers will be using 3D printers to produce parts for the products they sell. Given that there were more than 52,000 classified firms in North America, Europe and a few other countries, with over 100 employees as of 2011, you can expect at least 100 manufacturers with more than 100 employees in operation worldwide. Most of these firms are expected to be using 3D printing by 2019, giving new hope to millions.

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