3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, in healthcare industry was first used for orthopedic implants around 2007. But, in the past couple of decades, the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector in 3D printing has evolved in more than one way indeed.
3D printing in healthcare applications is an advanced technology that enables customized solutions. It uses a variety of base materials like metals, plastics and even human cells and tissues. 3D printing can benefit the patients and healthcare providers by minimizing the operative risks involved in complex procedures. It can offer an array of benefits by reducing susceptibility to infection, decreasing the duration of anesthesia, enabling patients to recover faster, reducing the duration of hospital stay, facilitating surgeons to enhance the success rate and others.
Key healthcare applications of 3D printing
With the help of 3D printing techniques, living human cells or tissues are created, which is then used in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Regenerative medicine includes multiple areas, biomaterials, cells or a combination of cells and biomaterials that is needed to create an artificial organ for transplant. The most challenging technological advancement in this field so far has been the recent creation of multilayered tissues or organs from living cells and synthetic polymers.
During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 3D printing has majorly helped the global shortages of medical and pharmaceutical equipment. The digital accessibility, versatility and fast prototyping capabilities of 3D printing empowers the medical technology. It has helped people fight against coronavirus by designing preventive diagnosis devices and treatment methods.
Moreover, during emergencies, its integral parts can be manufactured on demand by any decentralized 3D printing facility through online. A wide array of 3D printing applications include personal protective equipment i.e. PPE, personal accessories, visualization aids, medical testing devices and others.
Other than that, 3D printing offers new opportunities for the production of precision and personalized pharmaceutical products across the world. It allows doctors and pharmacists to make doses based on patient’s age, body size, lifestyle, and sex. It also allows the patient to design affordable custom prosthetic according to their needs.
Current market scenario of 3D printing healthcare market
According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global 3D printing healthcare market size is projected to reach $3.6 billion with a considerable CAGR from 2018 to 2026. North America is currently dominating the market with the highest market share. Major factors such as numerous technological advancements in the health sector, huge investments for research and development activities of 3D printing, expansion of customer base, increase in scope of biomedical applications and others are witnessing growth to the global market of 3D printing in healthcare sector to a great extent.
With this drift on board, hospitals and other healthcare companies are making partnerships and collaborations, which in turn, is boosting the market even more. Here, it is worth mentioning that, 3D printing healthcare market will definitely gather huge prospects and exponential growth in the near future.