The 3D printed medical devices industry has been gaining ground for years, and its growth has accelerated in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
3D printing medical device companies have stepped up to meet the demand for personal protective equipment, such as face shields, masks and devices for ventilators.
The technology is being used for other applications in the healthcare industry, too. Here are three companies worth watching.
3D Printing Medical Device Companies Making Strides
3D printing technology offers great potential for implantable medical devices, including orthopaedic implants. The ability to print medical devices such as hip and knee replacements using biocompatible materials could potentially make these devices more readily available and affordable for patients.
More recently, 3D printing medical device companies are using software and artificial intelligence to create joint replacements with a better fit.
Standard implants have only been available in a limited number of shapes and sizes, rather than being designed to fit an individual joint. This can cause pain and inflammation.
To address this problem, REJOINT, an Italian medical 3D printing company, has developed patient-specific knee replacements.
The company uses intelligent algorithms to analyze patient CT scans, then uses an additive manufacturing system from GE to develop a 3D model. It uses artificial intelligence to compare the anatomy of a patient to thousands of prosthetic dimensions, according to an article published by the 3D Printing Network.
If the company receives FDA approval through the 510(k) program, its medical products could be on the market next year, according to the article.
Each year, about 500,000 Americans undergo surgery for low back problems, according to HealthDay. Unfortunately, these surgeries aren’t always effective.
The good news is that 3D printing medical device companies are creating spinal surgery solutions with better outcomes. One of these companies is NexxtSpine, which recently received FDA clearance for two 3D-printed lumbar systems.
The systems are made from titanium that has the ideal pore size, stiffness and geometry to be compatible with bones, according to a recent news release from the company.
The new devices are expected to launch this fall.
3D Systems, a 3D printing medical device company based in South Carolina, is making dentures more affordable with its NextDent 5100 dental printer.
Its NextDentⓇ Denture 3D+ recently received FDA approval. The technology combines advanced scanning with 3D printing material and an innovative 3D printer, resulting in dentures that are 90% less expensive and 75% less time-consuming to produce, according to the company’s news release.
“With 3D Systems’ Digital Denture Workflow, dental laboratories and clinics are now able to produce dental devices at dramatically increased speed while reducing material waste and capital equipment expenditure as well as reliance upon milling centers,” Vice President Rik Jacobs said in the release. “FDA clearance of NextDent Denture 3D+ is the last piece that creates a trusted end-to-end workflow – giving prosthodontists a competitive advantage while improving the patient experience.”
The Future Of 3D Printed Medical Device Companies
In recent months, many 3D printing medical device companies have developed ventilators and personal protective equipment to address shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The FDA issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for some of these devices, including masks.
The FDA also created the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP) to support clinical trials and new treatments using additive manufacturing technology.
For 3D printing medical device companies, the future is promising.
The market for 3D printed medical devices is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 17.5% and reach nearly $2 billion globally by 2022, according to market research.
Because of the versatility of this technology, we can expect to see 3D-printed medical devices becoming standard for many other applications, including organs, human tissue, bones and surgical instruments. Its scalability and precision could make life-saving transplants more readily available, ensure a better fit for joint replacements and make many treatments more cost-effective.
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