The invention of 3d printing technology has created a revolution over the past decade. With more capabilities being added every year, 3d printing has constantly improved and has consistently helped make tasks easier across several domains. But out of all the industries that 3d technology has had an impact on, there is none more so than the health industry.
The numbers speak for themselves, research has found that 13% of all 3d printing revenue comes from the health industry. This does not come as much of a surprise as the entire medical industry is primed for additive manufacturing. Using 3d printers, medical professionals can create devices that are catered to a specific patient at an affordable cost.
There are also several other niches within the medical industry that can use the aid of 3d printing. For example, detailed images obtained through CT scans or MRI scans could be used as data for 3d printers (using specialized software) to produce 3d models that can provide doctors with even more details. Devices that were only theoretical a few years ago, can now be cheaply, quickly and affordably produced using the power of 3d printers.
These new abilities gained through 3d printing, can help the medical industry in multiple ways. On demand 3d printing services can be easily used to create devices that have several useful features.
Customization – The accuracy of 3d printers is very high. It can manufacture items that are precise to the smallest detail. This provides them with ample room for customizability. Due to this medical professionals can design devices that perfectly suit the anatomy or other medical requirements of a specific patient.
Complexity – Since accuracy is key in creating medical devices, the complexity behind manufacturing such products is very high. 3d printing not only provides a way to create devices free of errors but can also make the whole process a lot more cost effective.
Speed – Due to the demanding nature of a medical setting, where there is a constant influx of patients and regular occurrences of emergency situations, the need to complete tasks as fast as possible is of primary importance. 3d printing can help immensely in achieving the same.
Sterilization – Medical equipment must also be clean and free of impurities. 3d printing is useful in this area as well as the materials used can easily be sterilized by steam autoclave or gamma radiation.
Cost – Due to the flexibility and speed of 3d printers, medical products manufactured using 3d printing methods cost a lot lesser. This has opened up the possibility for buyers all across the world to purchase 3d printed prosthetics or implants which were once reserved only for the uber rich.
As 3d printers have started to gain more abilities, the possible applications for its usage have also kept expanding. The flexible nature of this revolutionary technology has greatly advanced the potential of the medical field.
Prosthetics – Manufacturing artificial limbs has become much simpler since the beginning of the 3d printing era. From cosmetic prosthetics to fully functional limbs these devices are capable of producing products that can perfectly suit the needs of the patient and can produce them at a fraction of the cost.
Implants – 3d printers can produce fine mesh structures accurately and cheaply. Due to its organic nature and pinpoint precision the risk of rejection post surgery is also reduced. The usage of 3d metal printing techniques has also helped manufacturing implants that are very dependable. The end products are always strong, sterile and customer specific.
Models – These devices can also be used to create perfect replicas of whatever the doctor needs in complete 3d. By doing so doctors and nurses can study the necessary
part of the subject to help them make more accurate deductions and in general, help better the process of diagnosis.
The medical field along with the rest of the world is evolving rapidly. Technology has started to become mainstream with more and more doctors preferring to incorporate them in their practices. 3d printing is another such ‘technological practice’ that is starting to gain ground. With more development and acceptance into the medical field, this cost effective and efficient new technology could indeed prove to be a game changer.