Rapid advancements in 3D technology are sparking growth and transforming industries by the minute. Among the largest industries benefiting from the latest technology is healthcare.
By 2020, the 3D printing healthcare market is expected to reach $2.3 billion globally. 3D technology is being used to improve the quality of healthcare while providing low-cost and more reliable alternatives to traditional medical treatments.
3D technology has the potential to improve the quality of life in less time and at a fraction of the cost. Here are four ways it’s disrupting the industry.
1. Prosthetics and Implants
Custom-made prosthetics can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000, making them unaffordable to many individuals. 3D printing presents an affordable alternative that could potentially provide the 30 million people in need of prostheses with customized artificial limbs and braces for as low as $50.
3D printers can also construct precise implants for patients with x-rays, MRI or CT scans to enhance personalization and comfort. Similarly, 3D printing also offers an array of capabilities in the dental industry. 3D printing technology is now used in some practices to create crowns, bridges and dentures, or to repair a broken or chipped tooth.
In the past, prosthetics and implants have taken weeks or months to complete. With 3D printing, the same devices can be manufactured in less than 24 hours. 3D printed prosthetics and implants’ low cost, convenience, and versatility makes them attractive alternatives to patients in need.
2. Organ Replicas
Doctors and engineers are turning to 3D technology to print anatomically correct replicas of patient’s organs and cells. Surgeons are able to use models to gain insight into specific patients’ needs and to pre-plan procedures before operating. Pre-planning reduces the risks of complications or infections and lessens the time patients spend in surgery or rehabilitation.
As 3D technology continues to advance, more success stories arise. For example, a nine-month-old baby in China suffered from a rare and fatal heart defect. However, experienced physicians were able to print a full-sized model of the infant’s heart, which allowed them to pre-plan and determine precisely where to cut during the complicated surgery. As a result of careful planning, the child survived the procedure with little to no lasting ill effects.
3. Medical Instruments
3D printing is being used to manufacture surgical tools, especially in developing countries where medical supplies poses a financial burden. Doctors are using 3D printers to reduce the number of tools necessary for surgery by customizing instruments for individual patients.
Dentists, too, are taking advantage of 3D printing to create many of their surgical tools, like drill guides, needed to perform specific procedure. This may include extracting a tooth, fillings, root canals and more.
3D technology expedites production as multiple components are printed simultaneously to create fully functional tools in under 24 hours.
Medical professionals are beginning to use 3D technology to construct personalized oral tablets that are tailored to the unique conditions and reactions of patients. While this technology is still in its early stages of development, 3D printing may enable healthcare professionals to manufacture pills that use a unique combination of drugs to treat multiple ailments simultaneously.
Design the Next Breakthrough with the SpaceMouse Enterprise Kit
The use of 3D technology in the healthcare industry has proven to be successful, however, engineers have yet to tap into its full potential. As new developments emerge and engineering capabilities increase, 3D design has the potential to fully transform the industry.
To develop your next breakthrough, consider investing in the SpaceMouse Enterprise Kit, which serves as a practical tool to help you design custom 3D designs with precision.
The kit includes the SpaceMouse Enterprise and CadMouse, which work together to help you design with ease. Users can bring their 2D creations to life using the SpaceMouse, designed to enhance comfort and productivity.
Also included is the CadMouse Pad for uninterrupted movement, a twin-port USB hub and the 3DxWare 10 software driver, which allows you to customize each tool within the kit.
Image Credit: andreas kofner