The medical additive manufacturing sector – which is starting now to include some areas of bioprinting – is today one of the largest adopters of 3D printing technologies for the production of consumer-targeted, end-use items, including prosthetics and orthotics, implants, devices and physical models.

In this month’s AM Focus on medical additive manufacturing, we are going to hear from some of the large companies and innovative startups that have taken the possibilities offered by AM in various medical fields to new heights and built this sector into what can already be described as a multi-billion dollar opportunity (according to exclusive data provided by SmarTech Analysis).

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 leading global service providers like Oerlikon, Jabil and Materialise, are investing heavily to develop both medical and dental AM applications. Medical products powerhouses like StrykerDePuy SynthesZimmer Biomet (these two merged in 2015), and Smith & Nephew, are conducting R&D with AM for a range of innovative devices. Stryker was among the earliest adopters along with medium size international firm Lima Corporate.

The list of orthopedic contract manufacturers offering AM production services today is growing rapidly, with 3dpbm’s Index listing nearly 50 manufacturers of varying sizes. Some of these companies have been utilizing AM in a significant manner for more than a decade and are beginning to look beyond just the design and production of existing implant types in titanium using additive manufacturing.

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 AM Focus we hone in on the latest advancements and take a look at the upcoming opportunities for medical AM.

  • Osseus obtains FDA 510(k) clearance of Pisces-SA spinal implant

    Osseus, an innovative spinal solutions company, obtained FDA 510(k) clearance and launch of the Pisces-SA Standalone ALIF Interbody System. The Pisces-SA interbody can be used with both bone screws and alternative fixation bone anchors allowing for increased intraoperative flexibility. Biomechanical testing proved that the Pisces-SA anchors provide better expulsion resistance…

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  • Humabiologics partners with Fisher Scientific. To distribute human biomaterials for regenerative medicine research.

    Humabiologics partners with Fisher Scientific

    Humabiologics, an industry leader in providing human-derived biomaterials for regenerative medicine, founded by scientists and tissue industry experts to address the gap between the gift of donated human tissues and researchers, and Fisher Scientific, a global leader in life sciences, are partnering to serve researchers in academia and industry who…

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  • Orion Medical enables 3D printing in precision medicine. Its Thermal Radiation Heating offers 3D printing with injection-molded strength.

    Orion Medical enables 3D printing in precision medicine

    Orion Medical GmbH, founded in Cham, Switzerland in March 2022, is a manufacturing solutions provider for the medical devices industry. The company is closely linked to Orion Additive Manufacturing GmbH (Orion AM), an established manufacturer of 3D printing systems for high-performance polymers based in Berlin, Germany. The key advantage of…

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  • Bertram Dental Lab acquires fifth SLM280 Production Series printer. Printing Removable Partial Dentures through its LazerTEK Print Service.

    Bertram Dental Lab acquires fifth SLM280 Production Series printer

    Bertram Dental Lab (BDL), is an early pioneer in utilizing metal AM to produce Cobalt Chrome Removable Partial Dentures (RPDs) at scale. Since 2016, Bertram Dental Lab has had a long-standing partnership with SLM Solutions, after acquiring its first SLM280 Production Series. Since then, to enable the launch of its…

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  • 3D Systems' VSP Bolus, a personalized radiotherapy treatment accessory. Optimizing radiotherapy by targeting and improving patient experience

    3D Systems’ VSP Bolus, a personalized radiotherapy treatment accessory

    3D Systems has entered the radiation oncology market with FDA 510(k) clearance of VSP Bolus, a solution designed to deliver high-quality patient-specific radiotherapy treatment accessories. As the latest addition to the company’s VSP portfolio of personalized medical devices, VSP Bolus is the only solution on the market that offers a…

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  • Formlabs introduces new BioMed Black Resin and BioMed White Resin

    Formlabs introduced the new BioMed Black Resin and BioMed White Resin, two highly opaque medical-grade materials targeted for use in biocompatible applications. After years of research and feedback from customers, the Formlabs materials team developed two new resins to underscore Formlabs’ commitment to medical innovation and advancing additive manufacturing in…

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  • Automation Alley to fulfill request from Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Project DIAMOnD will supply 3D printed tourniquets.

    Project DIAMOnD to 3D print tourniquets for Ukraine

    A 3D printing network in Michigan is rushing to aid Ukrainians during wartime by printing parts for tourniquets. The humanitarian effort is being led locally by Automation Alley’s Project DIAMOnD, a 3D printing network of 300 small and medium-sized manufacturers, which is working with Makershelp, a 3D printing organization in…

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  • 3D printed kidney model used by robotic urologic oncology surgeon. The model provides an additional preparation tool for surgical procedures.

    3D printed kidney model used by robotic urologic oncology surgeon

    Renowned robotic urologic oncology surgeon Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., was the first in the USA to test a new preoperative surgical rehearsal technology recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for all genitourinary conditions. The 3D printed kidney models, made by Lazarus 3D, provide an additional preparation tool for…

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  • Microfluidic devices fabricated by researchers using 3D printing. Allowing biomedical, microscale testing of liquids, particles, and cells.

    Microfluidic devices fabricated by researchers using 3D printing

    Researchers at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering have developed a highly specialized 3D printing technique (using vat photopolymerization technology) that allows microfluidic channels to be fabricated on chips at a precise microscale not previously achieved. Microfluidic devices are compact testing tools made up of tiny channels…

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  • Eplus3D partners with BioSummer 3D for digital dentistry

    Eplus3D, a provider of metal 3D printer solutions, together with BioSummer 3D, a provider of dental products and service solutions in France, signed a distribution agreement to help more dental laboratories and labs realize 3D digital transformation. “Eplus3D is very pleased to find the professional dental partner BioSummer 3D in…

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