Poll of the Week: More Medical 3D Printing News, Please

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In our first-ever Poll of the Week, we asked our LinkedIn followers what kinds of stories they wanted to read. With 3D printing as oft-used as it is these days, there could have been over a dozen examples. But, LinkedIn only lets you pick four. So the specific options were:

  • Medical 3D printing
  • Automotive 3D printing
  • Military 3D printing
  • Oil & gas 3D printing

With over 330 votes, the winner of the poll was overwhelmingly medical 3D printing; you can see the full breakdown below.

This shouldn’t be that surprising: according to AM Research, 3D printing is already “well established in the production of advanced orthopaedic implants, the production of dental aligner tools and models, and increasingly in pre-surgical planning and more so within surgical training,” with plenty of room left for further innovation in the medical industry. There are all kinds of amazing applications in this space, from bone glue and medical imaging phantoms used in CT imaging to microneedles, cranial implants, and much more.

3D printed patient-specific cranial implant. Image courtesy of 3D Systems.

All of this innovation is terribly exciting, but as Senior Writer and Analyst Vanesa Listek wrote, “as the boundaries of innovation expand, so too do the complexities surrounding liability.” 3D printing in hospitals is becoming more prevalent than ever, but this creates all kinds of new challenges in terms of ethics, regulations, and safety standards. Listek spoke with Amy Alexander, Unit Head of Mechanical Development and Applied Computational Engineering at Mayo Clinic, about liability and 3D printed medical devices, and learned that a thorough analysis and safety review for each device can go a long way to ensuring that these devices meet with the necessary safety and efficacy standards.

As for the near future of medical 3D printing? 3D printed microrobots, neural bioelectronic interfaces, and customized heart valves could cause some waves in medical science over the next decade.

Featured image courtesy of Ricoh.

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