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19 - 22 June 2024

The Functional Role of 3D Tech in the Medical Industry

  • 3D technology (3D Tech) plays an important role in the medical industry due to its ability to produce accurate and precise anatomical structures quickly.
  • 3D TECH provides innovative solutions that enhance and facilitate medical diagnosis, treatment planning, surgical procedure, and medical education.

Hospitals around the world are increasingly leveraging new technologies like 3D printing, which allows doctors to truly "see" and interact with the anatomy without harming the patients. Let’s learn about the many important functions 3D technology plays in the medical industry.

Accuracy in diagnosis and treatment planning is a result of 3D imaging techniques in CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasound. It allows medical professionals to visualize internal structures in 3D which is more comprehensive and detailed compared to traditional 2D images. Moreover, surgeons can use 3D models to plan and simulate complex surgical procedures before performing the actual surgery so they can deliver better results.

Custom implants and prosthetics 3D printing technology enables the production of implants, prosthetic devices, and personalized orthopedic devices to be tailored to each patient's anatomy. This customization can improve the fit and function of these devices more efficiently, increases patients’ comfort and recovery at an affordable price, and solves the problem of simple prosthetics which are only available in a few sizes. Meanwhile, custom-made bionic prostheses which are designed to mimic the movements of real legs that relies on the motor function of the muscles in the patient's remaining leg are so costly that only the wealthiest or those with the highest insurance premiums can have them custom-made.

Orthopedic implants with 3D printing enables joint replacements or spinal implants that can be tailored to each patient's unique anatomy. This leads to better results and reduce risk of complications.

Medical education and training have been using 3D TECH to help students and surgeons practice surgical procedures, gain thorough understanding of complex anatomical structures and acquire overall skills in a risk-free environment. In Thailand, there are many medical schools taking advantage of 3D printing technology, such as the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University which has a medical education technology facility, department of medical model production that provides services in producing various types of medical models for teaching and training, models for research projects, models for museums, and models for demonstration. There is also a service to design work pieces for printing with a 3D printer that uses materials from corn starch that are precise and of high quality, resulting in highly neat and beautiful work pieces.

Patient communication and understanding is another aspect 3D modeling helps by explaining medical conditions and treatment plans to patients in a more accessible and easy-to-understand way. It educates and shares decision-making with patients, so the patients have less anxiety since they can better understand their own anatomy and details about their conditions or diseases they currently have.

Advanced research and Development is achieved through 3D technology. It allows for the creation of accurate models for studying the stages of various diseases, new drug testing, and development of innovative treatment approaches, all of which lead to advancement in the field of medical knowledge and the discovery of new treatments.

3D TECH enables minimally invasive surgery. In cases where access to the surgical site is limited,
3D imaging provides surgeons with improved depth perception and spatial awareness, so they can proceed more accurately while reducing the risk of complications and improves patient recovery.

Dental applications also leverage 3D printing. For examples, 3D TECH is used to restore teeth by creating crowns, bridges (fixed dentures made up of more than one tooth crown bonded together), and custom-made dental implants. This ensures a natural and customized fit for each patient. Furthermore, it is used in orthodontics for planning and fabrication of customizable braces, thereby improving the efficiency and effectiveness of orthodontic treatment.

An interesting example of a company that uses a 3D anatomical model is Materialise, a Belgian 3D printing and additive manufacturing company which has discovered that treatment time was cut down by 62 minutes/case, and the expense for each case was reduced by approximately 3,720 USD.

Due to the ever-increasing demand for 3D printing technology in the medical industry, this market is expected to grow 1.1 times in 2024 compared to last year. According to Precedence Research, it is reported that the global 3D printing technology market in the medical industry is valued at approximately 1,410 million USD in 2023 and 1,660 million USD in 2024. This value is expected to reach approximately 6,250 million USD by 2032, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% during the forecast period (2023 to 2032).

This technology trend in healthcare will continue to develop in the future, which will make it possible to create implants using a patient's own biological tissue. This breakthrough could include the successful 3D printing of hearts, kidneys, livers and other vital organs, thus truly ushering in a new era of regenerative treatment.

With an efficient and fast production process, 3D TECH presents an important opportunity to help more patients receive a transplant without having to wait for years or until the condition deteriorates to the point of untreatable.

3D printing technology in the medical industry is just one of the technologies that industrialists will experience at InterMold Thailand 2024 – the 30th edition of ASEAN's Most Comprehensive Exhibition on Mold & Die Components Making Technology which will take place during 19 - 22 June 2024 at BITEC, Bangkok. If you want to stay on top of the up-to-date news about mold making industry, don't miss InterMold Thailand blogs where RX Tradex will regularly deliver exciting news like this to you.