3D printing i.e. additive manufacturing involves a layer by layer process to create physical objects out of digital 3D blueprints. It was mainly used for rapid prototyping in the late 1980’s. However, it has now become a next-generation technology which can produce localised, on-demand final products or even spare parts. 3D printing is possible with a range of thermoplastics, metal alloys, ceramics & various foodstuffs. It has seen an application in diverse areas like aerospace, retail, supply chain optimisation, & the medical industry. The 3D printed Hip & Knee Implants Market could dramatically improve both the effectiveness of surgery along with reducing the time taken to recover. It was pioneered by Dr Susannah Clarke and has already been used in hundreds of hip & knee surgeries across the world. It uses CAT scans to create a 3D blueprint of the damaged hip or knee joint to be replaced. Surgeons can then use this to practice the operation on a computer, deciding beforehand where to make incisions or how to realign the bone. The 3D printed hip & knee implant market will help to make replacement surgery much safer & quicker in the long run.
Children with ear deformities will soon be able to get printed ears made from their own stem cells, according to a team of Wollongong researchers working on new 3D bioprinting technology.
They claim their work represents a “huge breakthrough” in the field.
The bio-printer, called 3D Alek, was developed at the University of Wollongong and is now being trialled at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA).
In 2015, market research firm Gartner projected that medical 3D printing would become the pioneering field that would drive additive manufacturing (AM) into the mainstream in two to five years. Four years have passed, so we’ve decided to examine the industry to determine if Gartner’s predictions have come true.
In this article, we’ll explore a handful of medical 3D printing stories from the past year to gain perspective on the level of adoption at which the technology stands.
If you follow 3D printing or medical news at all, you’re likely familiar with the many ways that 3D printing is changing medicine for the better. 3D printed anatomical models are helping surgeons better plan and execute surgeries, while 3D printed implants are being customized to patients for better comfort and longevity, just to name a couple of the major advancements of 3D printing in healthcare. While it may seem like things are happening quickly, however, the solutions don’t just appear and magically change the world; there are hurdles that must be addressed before these solutions can be truly widespread, particularly the dreaded R word – regulation.
In March last year, Materialise became the first company to receive FDA clearance for diagnostic use of its 3D printed anatomical model software. The company then launched an FDA-approved certification program that allows 3D printer manufacturers to have their products tested and validated for use with Materialise’s Mimics inPrint software, which converts medical images into 3D print-ready files.
Manual tests for safe drinking water can be slow and error-prone. A team of academics is trying to change that
Like many people, Alexander Patto was keen to move away from academia after his PhD. He wanted a job that would have a tangible impact on the world, so when an opportunity came up to investigate water testing in the developing world, he jumped at the chance. Together with a team of academics from the University of Cambridge, Patto, a biologist, worked on a simple way of testing bacterial contamination in drinking water.
“The current systems are very slow and complex,” says Patto. To get a robust result “there is a lot of manual sampling”, which can also lead to “a lot of human error”, he says. “What we’re trying to do is make it very, very simple, so that anybody can do a test, regardless of their skillset [and the] resources available, and still get a result that is scientifically robust.”
A special interest group of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) has posted a set of guidelines, suggesting standard approaches for 3D printing in healthcare.
Recognizing the need for evidence-based recommendations in the sector, these guidelines have been developed over a period of two years, in review of over 500 recent papers published on the topic.
As the abstracts states, “The recommendations provide guidance for approaches and tools in medical 3D printing, from image acquisition, segmentation of the desired anatomy intended for 3D printing, creation of a 3D printable model, and post-processing of 3D printed anatomic models for patient care.”
3D printing technology applications come alive in applications ranging from developing packaging machinery to producing personalized medical devices to printing custom medications in a patient’s home.
The FDA acknowledges that “advances in material science, digital health, 3D printing, as well as other technologies continue to drive an unparalleled period of invention in medical devices.”
The perspective comes from a Nov. 26, 2018 statement by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Jeff Shuren, Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, outlining transformative new steps to modernize FDA’s 510(k) program to advance the review of the safety and effectiveness of medical devices.
Osseus Fusion Systems’ 3D printed titanium spinal implants won FDA clearance earlier this year, joining more than 100 devices and one drug currently on the market manufactured on 3D printers.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has called 3D printing a transformative technology that could disrupt medical practice, and the agency is scrambling to keep abreast of new regulatory challenges.
Known as additive manufacturing, the process involves production of three-dimensional objects using a digital file. The printer layers successive images or files on top of one another until a solid 3D object is formed. The process allows designers to create 3D models of a patient’s anatomy for use in diagnosis or surgical planning. The technology is also being used to customize orthopaedic implants and accessories, prosthetics, hearing aids, dental implants and wearables, such as flexible sensors. In the future, doctors may be able to bioprint skin cells to help heal burn wounds and print out replacement organs.
There is never a dull moment in 3D printing. From printing organs to helping prepare doctors for surgeries to trying to print fully formed organs, 3D printing may well enable a leap forward in human life expectancy. This article will recap some of what 3D printing has already done, and the new technology that is one step closer to making healthcare better.
Recently, Sinterit launches a soft thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to be used in small selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printers. At Formnext 2018, the company will show off its soft TPU powder intended for small SLS 3D printers, called Flexa Soft. With a hardness between 40-55 in Shore A type scale, the company thinks this material will help doctors perform mock surgeries.
Patients waiting for an organ transplant may soon have a new treatment option — print out the organ or tissue they need using a revolutionary form of 3D printing that may one may day eliminate the need to wait on transplant donations.
Organovo, a biotech company in San Diego is leading the revolution in bioprinting and Boston area researchers are weighing the benefits of 3D-printed tissue.
“It’s about personalized and customized treatment,” said Xuanhe Zhao, a professor of mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He said 3D printing could eventually eliminate the need for transplant donations.