This is the 2nd post of the ‘3D Bio-Printing’ series. If you haven’t already, check out the first part here 3D Bio-Printing Pt1. It covers the initial uses of 3D printing in medicine. Here we are going to look into more advanced and sophisticated developments made.
Using the patient’s anatomy, more fitting prosthetics can be made which are affordable and comfortable for the patient. As children keep growing quickly in their early ages, changes in prosthetics cause a financial burden on the families. This leads to some families opting out of getting prosthetics for their children, which can cause problems for the patient. Because of 3D printing of prosthetics in a lower cost range, the replacement of prosthetics to a larger size every couple of years becomes easier. Limbitless Solutions is a non-profit organization in the US. It allows the patients to choose their colour palette and design of their prosthetics.
3D Dental Implants
“We’re seeing that 3D printing is becoming one of the key tools in areas like dental care and dental restoration. The digital thread there has been largely developed from intraoral scanning to the workflows and the planning — not just in the lab, but also in the dental clinic. So there you can see a market that is ready for mass adoption”.Avi Reichental, Founder of XpotentialWorks- interview with AMFG.
The clean aligners that are seen being widely used nowadays are 3D printed and termed as Invisalign.
Since the year of 2013, the number of patients that require an organ has doubled. Even so, the actual availability of organs has not changed much. There is more precision in personalisation of medicine. Body size, age lifestyle and gender influence the dosage formation.
Contribution to Medical Education
3D printing did not only contribute to making implants and prosthetics used in practice to cure patients. It also played a huge role in the education field of medicine. The prototypes of parts of the body were made for practice and refining of skills of students and doctors. Some procedures in medicine are rather very complicated and not many cases of them are seen in real life. This results in less practice and familiarity with such procedures and situations. Practice on a similar model to the patient can help the doctors get to practice and select a strategy beforehand.
There are many rules and regulations placed to get approval for new inventions and ideas in the healthcare industry. The approval process for even just a new material in 3D printing is time consuming. The US FDA approved spinal implants made from titanium alloy. But they didn’t approve titanium alloy for any other kinds of implants or medical devices. The manufacturing companies need to get approval from the FDA for each new use of material.
The medical devices made from 3D printing are classified into Class I, Class II and Class III. Class III devices require a Premarket Notification which shows that the device is safe and effective to use. Premarket Notification is necessary for most of the Class II devices. Whereas, Class I devices do not need it.
Future of 3D Bio-Printing
Not just healthcare but many more industries have been impacted by 3D printing. Architecture, automotive, aerospace and education are some of them. Above all, technology keeps growing. Thus leading to improvements in inventions. These creations which make things easier and faster than ever.
The technology of 3D printing has made a noticeable impact in the healthcare industry. Furthermore, it is expected to make much more significant and lasting changes. These will leave a huge impact on medicine and end up changing the industry for better. In 2019, medical 3D bioprinting was worth $1.25billion. It is expected to rise to $2.25billion in 2022 from $1.89billion in 2021. In addition, it expected to raise grow to $4.5billion in the next 4years. This shows that 3D printing has a huge impact on the healthcare industry. This impact will keep growing in the future too.
There are many more uses of 3D printing in the healthcare industry and numerous more yet to come. I’ll keep coming with new and interesting ways of how technology affects various industries. Until then, stay tuned and check out other posts on The Startech.