Medical Additive Manufacturing

The medical sector, which encompasses dental, is today one of the largest adopters of 3D printing technologies for the production of consumer-targeted items, including prosthetics, implants, dental replacements and physical models.

Though the focus of much media coverage, the use of 3D printing technologies extends well beyond 3D printed implants. Surgical guides and pre-surgical models are widespread, so much so that they can, in a way, be compared to the broad adoption of AM for prototyping and tooling in the industrial manufacturing arena. Leading AM hardware manufacturers, such as 3D Systems, EnvisionTEC, EOS and SLM Solutions, along with service providers like Materialise, are investing heavily to develop both medical and dental AM applications.

While the benefits of AM technologies for personalized medicine and more efficient surgical practices are well documented, several hurdles still exist that are limiting a more widespread adoption of these key technologies in hospitals and medical practices. Several of these hurdles are inherent to AM technologies and related material availability, however, the biggest challenges result from a general lack of awareness and skepticism, resulting in a slow pace of adoption.

Today, significant strides are being takenmainly in the private segmenttoward the development of advanced polymers, metals and ceramics fit for implantation in humans. The private dental segment is going through a full-size boom in the adoption of AM technologies and processes. With this month’s Industry Focus we hone in on the latest advancements and take a look at the upcoming opportunities for medical and dental AM.

Latest Medical and Dental AM news:

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