3D printing is the latest technology which facilitates the creation of three-dimensional items from a digital file through additive processes. This multidimensional printing offers various advantages over the conventional methods. This technique has been widely used in different fields like automotive design, real estate modeling, and making product prototypes.
Recently, the use of 3D printing has become widespread in the health care industry also. According to an analysis, it is expected that the 3D printing industry will be worth $4043 million in 2018 in the medical field alone. The reason behind its popularity is that the 3D printing facilitates production of highly complex geometries.
Let us discuss the different medical fields in which 3D printing technology is currently used.
3D printing industry has been used to create dental prosthetics with increased precision. Dental software analyzes the patient’s mouth and accordingly produces diagrams of required crown and implants. Following that, a 3D printer creates the crown and dental implants with accurate shape and size and that too within no time.
3-D printing braces are so easy to apply and remove that they do not get fractured easily. Thus, you need not visit your orthodontist again and again for fractured braces.
One of the fantastic examples of 3D printing is the prosthetic hands. Traditional prosthetics are extremely expensive and they degrade with the extensive use. 3D printing technology offers completely customizable and fully functional prosthetic hands which can be printed in a short time and that too at a minimal cost. Another advantage of these prosthetics is for the children who generally outgrow them in just 2-3 months. With the help of a 3D printer, child’s new prosthetic limb can be made in a day.
Overall, such advanced prosthetics has cut the cost incurred in using conventional prosthetics, minimized the discomfort of the patient and significantly reduced the number of visits to the orthopedic surgeons. However, 3D printing technology is still facing challenges in producing prosthetics for the leg amputees.
One of the most significant uses of 3D printers is in the production of hearing aids. You would be surprised to know that today around 10,000,000 such hearing aids are in worldwide circulation. 3D printed hearing aids are quite easy to wear, and they fit perfectly in the patient’s ears.
The use of 3D printing technology is rapidly increasing in the preparation of surgical models. Surgeons believe that this technology reduces the operating time, lowers the risks for the errors and helps them avoid chances of any complication.
With the help of 3D printers, surgeons can get photocurable resins of various transparency, flexibility and textures. They convert the CT scan data into 3D digital file to plan the complex surgeries.
Joint replacement surgeries
Various surgeries such as jaw surgeries, knee replacements, hip replacements etc. require cutting and drilling into surgical structures. With the help of medical imaging and 3D modeling technology, surgeons are able to create a blueprint for reshaping the bone structure so that they can perfectly accommodate the standard size implants.
One of the new offshoots of 3D printing is bio-printing. It involves the creation of 3D structure from human cells and an encapsulation material. 3D bio-printing has been already used in the transplantation of several tissues.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that bio printed tissues will soon be available for drug development and therapeutic purposes. No doubt, these bio-printed materials will soon become vital subsector of this industry.
Earlier, due to financial obstacles and unwanted circumstances, many people were unable to undergo complex surgeries. 3D printing has helped a bit in improving the situation by bringing the surgical cost down.More people are being treated and better results are being obtained in lesser time. 3D printing is no doubt at the brink of revolutionizing the medical field.