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Innovative Trends in Medical Device Additive Manufacturing

3D printing medical devices

The medical device manufacturing community is one of the leading drivers behind the advancement of additive manufacturing technology- especially in regards to metal printing. We have all seen reports of 3D printed prosthetics for amputees and other similar ventures. However, additive manufacturing is affecting the procedures that are performed every day in hospitals as well.

Consider this: during surgery, surgeons need to make precise cuts. It is quite common for surgeons to use a template or guide to help position those cuts. In the past, this was accomplished with a set of guides of varying sizes that surgeons selected from during surgery in a trial-and-error fashion. Although this process worked, it led to surgeons making less than optimal incisions.

Customizing Surgical Guides With 3D Printing Leads to a Reduction in Recovery Time for the Patient

With the ability to scan an individual’s anatomy and 3D print a surgical guide to conform to a patient’s exact needs, the guide can be designed to only be positioned in the exact spot needed. This innovation means that surgeons would only cut what is necessary and patients would see faster recovery times.

With this revolutionary idea in mind, the Siemens team conducted medical demonstrations using Convergent Modeling Technology to develop a scan of a patient’s knee and the surgical guide to match it. Scans and guides such as these contribute to positive patient outcomes.

A Model Patient

Another use case for medical 3D printing is the creation of surgical models using actual patient anatomy. Every patient is different and scanning software can generate a 3D printed model of a patient’s anatomy to be used as a study site before surgeries take place.

This can be especially important for patients whose anatomy does not conform to the norm. For example, patients born with unusual heart defects, or patients who have experienced trauma to an area of their body. Surgeries on such patients are never routine, and 3D printing is allowing surgeons to see what they are up against before they enter the surgical theater.

The ability to simplify complex and challenging surgeries not only saves precious time for doctors but also keeps patients safer and happier.

Better Living (Thanks to Science)

As the medical device manufacturing industry continues to embrace additive manufacturing technology, more and more use cases will fall into the spotlight. Not only does this enhance the lives of medical professionals but patients’ lives are improved as well.

To learn more about additive manufacturing, contact Geometric Solutions- your Siemens Digital Industries Software partner.