They could also be useful for patient education and preoperative planning for surgeons. Recently, scientists are using a combination of magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound together with 3D printing technology to help doctors prepare for fetal surgeries. One of the many types of 3D printing used in the field of medical devices is bioprinting. Instead of printing with plastic or metal, bioprinters use a computer-guided pipette to place living cells, called bioink, one on top of the other to create artificial living tissue in a laboratory.
The 3D printing process can be performed using any of the different technologies. The choice of technology can depend on many factors, such as how the final product will be used and how easy the printer is to use. The most common technology used for 3D printing medical devices is called powder bed fusion. Powder bed fusion is commonly used because it works with a variety of materials used in medical devices, such as titanium and nylon.
The most popular medical 3D printing technologies include stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) for plastic parts, and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and selective laser fusing (SLM) for metals. SLA 3D printers use a laser to cure liquid resin and convert it into hardened plastic in a process called photopolymerization. SLA is one of the most popular processes among medical professionals due to its high resolution, precision and material versatility. While the focus has been on 3D printing, implants and medical devices used by patients, one of the most important areas of application is the manufacture of anatomical replicas.
In this report, learn how Formlabs Medical helps medical device companies bring digital manufacturing to their facilities, and get inspired by the examples of four companies currently creating innovative devices using 3D printing. Recent advances in 3D printing in the healthcare sector have made it possible to manufacture lighter, stronger and safer products, reduce delivery times and reduce costs. To help reduce costs, some centers have developed procedures in which surgeons practice and plan operations with cheap mannequins that are transplanted with 3D printed models specific to each patient. Todd Goldstein, doctor and instructor at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, is unequivocal in his assessment of the importance that 3D printing technology has acquired for his department.
This will allow scientists to create patient-specific vascular graft designs, improve surgical options and provide a unique testing platform for new vascular medical devices for those suffering from cardiovascular diseases, which are currently the leading cause of death worldwide. For example, the FDA has printers that use different printing technologies, including powder bed fusion, to assess which parts of printing processes and workflows are critical to ensuring the quality of the finished medical device. As the price of high-performance 3D printers falls, more and more medical professionals are using 3D printing to produce customized and cost-effective devices in short periods of time, design anatomical models customized for patients, identify revolutionary clinical solutions and create new treatments adapted to patient needs. With the freedom offered by digital technologies, such as 3D scanning and 3D printing, Matej and Nik's physical therapists were able to generously experiment and develop a completely new and innovative workflow for ankle and foot orthoses (AFO).
New biocompatible medical 3D printing materials have also allowed the development of new surgical tools and techniques with the express purpose of further improving the clinical experience during surgery. Not only does 3D printing produce sterile tools, but some are based on the ancient Japanese practice of origami, meaning that they are precise and can be made very small. Since SLS printing does not require specific support structures, it is ideal for complex geometries, such as interior elements, crevices, thin walls and negative elements. FDM technology is the most used form of 3D printing among consumers, driven by the advent of 3D printers for amateurs.
The 3D printing technique accelerates the process, since custom molds for transparent aligners can be manufactured directly from digital patient scans. The 3D printer is so precise that custom parts can be designed and sent to print in a very short time. The FDA regulates 3D printed medical devices in the same way as traditional medical devices; therefore, they are evaluated according to the safety and efficacy information sent to us by the manufacturer. .