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AM in Healthcare Applications RAPID + TCT 2023

Additive Manufacturing (AM), the process of creating parts by addition of material, usually in a layer-by-layer fashion, finds multiple application areas within the fields of medicine and healthcare. The inherent abilities of AM technologies to produce one-off, highly complex and personalized parts has drawn the attention of medical and healthcare professionals since the processes were first conceived. There are multiple application areas at varying states of maturity across the sector. Orthopedics, surgical planning, medical modeling and prosthetics are relatively well established — if only in a handful of markets. Bioprinting, tissue engineering and drug delivery are some of the more cutting-edge use cases that show huge future promise.

Come along to this expert-led thought-leadership panel on the main stage:
Tuesday, May 2 @ 1:00 pm
Regulatory Considerations for Hospital-Based 3D Printing
Beth Ripley, PhD, Deputy Chief, Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning, 
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Ben Johnson
Vice President, Portfolio & Regulatory
3D Systems

Matthew Di Prima, PhD, Materials Scientist
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Joseph Lipman, MS, Director of Device Development
Hospital for Special Surgery

Jonathan M. Morris, MD, Neuroradiologist
Mayo Clinic

Andy Christensen, FSME, Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Radiology
University of Cincinnati

AM in the medical sector

AM has achieved remarkable penetration in some medical applications. Nearly all custom made hearing aids are additively manufactured; the invisible aligners used to straighten teeth have AM embedded in their workflows; and an increasing number of dental prosthetics — crowns, bridges, etc — come from an AM machine.

Patient-specific implants such as spinal cages, hip, knee and shoulder joints have all leveraged the abilities of AM to create one off parts in a range of biocompatible materials. The design flexibility of AM combined with algorithmically generated geometries allows parts that encourage osseointegration and reduce the need for cementing, leading to better patient outcomes.

Join Prabaha Sikder for an exploration on one of the possible routes for AM to impact orthopedic devices:

Wednesday, May 3 @ 2:00pm
High-Temperature 3D Printing of Patient-Specific Polyetheretherketone (PEEK)-based Restorative Orthopedic Devices
Prabaha Sikder, PhD, Assistant Professor
Cleveland State University

As surgeons attempt increasingly complex surgeries AM helps throughout the process. DICOM data can be translated into ‘printable’ STL files, allowing reproductions of pathologies to be additively manufactured for surgical planning. Advances in multimaterial and multi-colour 3D printing allows  increasingly realistic models, improving operating duration and efficacy.

Developments in high-resolution intraoral scanners are powering adoption of AM for dental and maxillofacial applications. Implatology, mandibular restoration and dental crowns and bridges all make use of AM’s ability to produce personalized, highly accurate parts.

Structures produced by AM can achieve high strength-to-weight ratios through careful design compared with those of many conventional solid structures, improving resource efficiency. Reducing the weight is a priority in prosthetic applications where algorithmically generated and topologically optimized structures manufactured with AM provide a better quality of life for patients. High profile projects in developing countries where access to healthcare is limited and limb loss through conflict and disease unfortunately common demonstrate the power of AM to quickly solve problems that traditional manufacturing could not tackle.

Personalized orthoses are already leveraging AM’s ability to make accurate one-off parts in robust materials in relatively isolated cases. Challenges remain in the design and cost of additively manufactured orthoses but progress in software provision, including in leverage topologically optimized parts, can have a significant impact in the future.

Future Developments

Applications of AM related to drug delivery and pharmaceuticals are currently seeing an unprecedented level of research and development. Although still in its relative infancy when compared to other use cases, personalized oral and transdermal delivery routes for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) present huge potential for improving medicines adherence as well as modulating pharmacokinetics.

Get insights on adopting AM for pharmaceutical delivery with Dr. Sharon Flank:

Tuesday, May 2 @ 2:00 PM
Drug Printing: Quality and Standards Lessons for Additive Manufacturing
Sharon Flank, PhD, CEO