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.

  • Health Canada Mandibular implant

    Health Canada authorizes use of 3D printed mandibular implant

    The medical 3D printing industry marked an exciting milestone in Canada this week: Health Canada (a government department tasked with national health policies) has approved a 3D printed medical implant made by LARA 3D in Quebec City. The 3D printed device, a patient-specific mandibular plate, is the first made by…

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  • PrinterPrezz installs two Desktop Metal binder jetting systems

    California-based PrinterPrezz has been on the move lately, first with the high-profile acquisition of Vertex Manufacturing and shortly thereafter with the inauguration of a new, larger HQ and Innovation Center in the Bay Area. Now the company is making the news again for installing two Dekstop Metal binder jetting systems,…

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  • Digital Anatomy Creator software further advances medical modeling

    Stratasys continues to enhance anatomic modeling solutions for healthcare providers through the introduction of a new software module, Digital Anatomy Creator, for Stratasys Digital Anatomy 3D Printers. The new software allows users to easily manipulate material formations and customize the internal structures of their prints to achieve patient-specific anatomic models…

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  • UK patient receives world’s first 3D printed eye prosthetic

    A Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust patient was the first person in the world to be supplied solely with a fully digital 3D printed prosthetic eye on 25 November 2021. He first tried his eye on 11 November alongside a traditional acrylic prosthetic. By going home on 25 November…

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  • Racehorses metal implant

    Treating racehorses with 3D printed titanium implants

    Clinique de Grosbois, a veterinary clinic outside of Paris, France, specializes in treating racehorses that have been injured in the sport of racing. Among the most common injuries they treat are neck fractures and vertebral fractures caused by falls. And while in many cases the horses can be treated using…

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  • T&R Biofab patient-specific implants

    Bioprinted patient-specific implants are changing lives

    As a technology, bioprinting seeks to revolutionize medical research and healthcare, paving the way for more holistic, patient-driven solutions. At the same time, it is important to remember that bioprinting is just a tool, and what is truly innovative about it are the applications and uses being developed for it…

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  • PrinterPrezz expands new Bay Area Innovation Center to 30,000 sqf

    PrinterPrezz, Inc., a polymer and metal 3D printing service provider specializing in medical devices, recently signed a lease to a new all-encompassing facility, adding to the current HQ buildings in Fremont, California. This acquisition doubles their existing Bay Area Innovation Center workspace, increasing their total floor plan to approximately 30,000…

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  • Elucis virtual reality medical modeling on display at RSNA

    Realize Medical is going to be exhibiting its Elucis all-in-one virtual reality medical modeling platform for visualization and remote collaboration at RSNA in Chicago. Elucis was developed at the Ottawa Hospital to address the limitations of 3D printing. “There are several reasons 3D printing is not more widespread and primarily…

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  • 3D LifePrints brings its Point of Care medical 3D printing to the USA

    3D LifePrints, a leading Medical and ISO 13485 Certified 3D technology company provider of innovative solutions to the medical sector, is bringing its successful Point of Care business model to the US. This expansion of medical 3D printing services is supported by the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) and…

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  • Nexa3D and 3D DDS partner to support digital dentistry

    Nexa3D formed a new reseller partnership with 3D DDS, a 3D dental distributor, installer, technical service, and training company. This strategic collaboration will combine Nexa3D’s LSPc 3D printing technology with 3D DDS’s training, personalized technical support, backup print services, and custom workflow management integration tools to deliver part quality, throughput,…

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