The global 3D printing for medical sector market is projected to reach US$ 1,109.2 million by 2024 experiencing market growth at a CAGR of 11.7% from 2016 to 2024, according to a new report published by Market Reports Center. 3D printing has revolutionized the way medical procedures are performed, medical training is provided, and cost-effective medical products are being developed. Improved clinical outcomes is attracting the medical community to explore various avenue of 3D printing in the medical sector.
3D printing has been around since 1984. However, until recent advancements in technology which attracted people’s attention, 3D printing also gained traction for applications in healthcare. This includes development of surgical implants, biological prototypes, artificial organs, and dental implants. Innovation in 3D printing technology is expected to drive down healthcare costs much lower than current levels and increase medical product accessibility. Also, increasing demand for personalized medicines, and reduction in manufacturing cost and time would propel demand for 3D printed medical products in the near future. Wiiv—a Vancouver-based startup—uses 3D printing technology to create customized insoles for patients suffering from joint discomfort, plantar fasciitis pain, and general foot fatigue.
3D printing is a disruptive technology for conventional manufacturing process that involve major input costs, time, high amount of waste, and high error rate. This is owing to the fact that 3D printing involves layer by layer printing which eliminates waste generation and allows error-free process. Furthermore, the polygel technology enables producing product or device in desired color utilizing different materials.
3D printing in the medical sector has gained significant success in the dental and orthopedic implant segments. Currently, there is inadequate reimbursement for dental procedures in the U.S. 3D printed dental implants and products would lower the cost of dental procedures, making it more affordable and accessible to patients.
Various technologies such as electron beam melting, laser beam melting, photo polymerization, droplet deposition, and laminated object manufacturing are implemented in 3D printing of healthcare products. These technologies are gradually evolving with increasing knowledge about 3D printing products and demand for innovative and personalized medical products. However, clarity on regulatory aspects on manufacturing and approval process of 3D printed products is sought for the technology to be implemented on a large scale. This would also enable pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to focus on development of innovative healthcare products at low costs without compromising on profit margins.
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Despite significant advantages of this technology, 3D printing for medical sector technology is facing challenge in terms of high installation cost of the machine in order to achieve desired operational efficiency. Moreover, lack of trained professionals is also acting as a key challenge for its adoption. However, with the focus on introducing cost effective products, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers are expected to invest a huge amount of capital in research and development related to 3D printing.
Key takeaways of the market:
• The droplet deposition technology is a principle technology used in 3D printing primarily due to high heat and chemical durability. This technology segment held a market share of around 35% (in terms of revenue) in 2015.
• The surgical implants application segment dominated the market in 2015, value of US$ 265.0 million. Large pool of patients suffering from dental issues, cardiovascular, metabolic and bone disorders, is attributable to this dominant market value.
• Currently, 3D printing is highly used in the academic and research institutes for creating 3D printed biological models which are used for training and pre-operative preparation purpose
• In 2015, North America dominated the global 3D printing for medical sector market (in terms of revenue) owing to favorable government policies for 3D printing and also rapid adoption of 3D printing in improving health outcomes. However, demand for 3D printing for medical application is expected to increase rapidly in the Asia Pacific region owing to favorable government policies propelling investments and use of 3D printing in medical sector For instance, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center opened China’s first pediatric-specific 3D printing medical research unit in 2015. Furthermore, Chinese government, in July 2016, announced the establishment of its first 3D printing factory specifically for medical products in Chongqing, Southwest China.
• Market players are collaborating for conducting research and developing 3D printed products at affordable price. Johnson & Johnson collaborated with Organovo in January 2016 to study the viability of bioprinted human tissue in testing new drugs. Also, Stratasys, Inc. partnered with a New York-based Jacobs Institute in April 2016 to establish a new Center of Excellence (COE) at the institute. This COE will be aimed at using 3D printing to develop and assess new medical devices and promote clinical education and training.
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