Jun 30, 2014

3D Printing in Healthcare

3D Printed Plaster

Seeing the Future Today: Saving the Lives of Millions with 3D Printing in Healthcare

“Bean me up Scotty, all personnel report to Sick Bay.” We all loved the concept of the Sick Bay where the Captain Kirk from the Star Trek relied on its advanced technologies for healing the spaceship’s crew. Yet, the medical technologies displayed in the show need not be that far-fetched. With the advent of 3D printing in healthcare, technological progress has virtually permeated the future of healthcare in many ways. In order to match the machinations of the inter-galactic medical advances such as those seen in Star Trek, technological progress in healthcare has reached leaps and bounds with constant discoveries and inventions. Considered to be largely applicable to architecture, automotive, industrial design, military and aerospace engineering, the concept of 3D printing has made waves in the world of healthcare.

Moving beyond the Echocardiogram, CT scan and MRI, is 3D Printing

Popularly known as additive technology, 3D printing is expected to be a game changer over the years, beating existing traditional technologies. Additive technology has been the focus of the sterling activities in healthcare. According to a recent study backed by General Electric Co., that the additive technology is likely to triple by almost triple its value to around $6 billion by the 2017. This indicates that the adoption of 3D printing has perhaps been the fastest amongst all technologies that have been implemented for healthcare. 3D printing applications have succeeded in places where common systems have been used to detect dental and anatomical models have failed to display the best of these results. Let’s take a look at the direct impact that additive technology has in the medical industry.

   10-month-old Sneha was saved with the help of a timely  accurate and effective operation

The future of Medicine lies in 3D printing:

With the timely inclusion of the 3D printer in their medical systems, the doctors who treated Sneha are not only celebrating their success with an almost impossible surgery, but they are advocating it across the board. Additive technology has permeated across all streams in medicine improving detailing to the level of near accuracy. Technological giants like GE and others in the field are not leaving any stone unturned to meet the expectations within the medical industry. Here’s how the medical industry can benefit from 3D printing:

  • Prototypes galore: Medical OEMs are slowly advancing towards the manufacturing design data, modelling and manufacturing industries using CAD-CAM to develop better prototypes. Yet, some technological consultants like have developed rapid prototyping reduces the overall cost for development.
  • Amplifying defects: With the ability use the 3D scan, those aspects that were usually not identifiable before, can be identified now.
  • Limited materials required: With limited resources, one can easily achieve a simple model of the heart or any organ of the body.
  • Cost Reduction: 3D printing is done via a computer designed model with the help of one or more nozzles on a moving platform. The materials used involve plastics such as acrylic or ABS, metals like stainless steel, sterling silver, ceramics, glass, resins, sandstone or rubber. Such materials reduce the cost considerably.

3D printing in healthcare may not have reached the levels of a futuristic or advanced society, yet, they have managed to reach a certain level that will enable medical practitioners achieve better health strategies for those in need of critical care.

You can know read more about the topic from the whitepaper written by the experts from HCL Technologies


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