3D printing and the medical industry
Few industries require as much personalization of service and hardware as the medical industry. Combining the increasing healthcare demands from an aging population and a pressure to combat skyrocketing medical costs, it is clear that the need for innovation in medical technology is high. Halo Technologies is your on-demand partner for expeditious design and manufacturing of medical technologies.
Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D Printing, opens a world of possibilities for the medical industry, from producing medical devices to creating custom prosthetics. It can be used by surgeons to more effectively plan and successfully complete challenging and complex surgical procedures. As well as customizing items like casts, prosthetics, and dental hardware to the needs of an individual.
R&D and Rapid Prototyping
The cycle of design, fabrication, evaluation and iteration of new medical devices is dramatically shorter than with traditional manufacturing. Halo Technologies’ 3D printing and scanning techniques can rapidly and inexpensively be used to create a prototype, identify design flaws, redesign and move onto the next generation of the prototype. This has the effect of shortening the window between the whiteboard and presenting the premarket application / 510(k) to the FDA.
The diversity of manufacturing materials are growing by the day. With 3D printing, you can use plastics that are stronger, lighter, and easier to manufacture with. Components are highly accurate, interchangeable, and repeat orders can be completed with zero retooling. 3D printed parts can have more complex designs with shorter production times and reduced costs, loaning them for use in everything from medical instruments to prosthetics.
Customized Production of Medical Devices and Products
3D printed casts have been designed with a lattice structure, giving them ventilation holes that were impossible with plaster casts. This increases sanitation and reduces bacterial build up, making them more comfortable for the patient to wear. They are stronger than plaster casts, and require less time for the physician to administer and remove. With some basic measurements, the Halo team is able to manufacture 3D printed casts at less than the price of traditional plaster casts.
In addition to being a marked improvement to plaster casts, 3D printed casts open the door to future possible treatments such as ultrasound therapy that potentially can speed up recovery. Before, plaster’s density made this impossible.
Properly fitted prosthetics are prohibitively expensive. They are often very uncomfortable to the wearer, and even can even cause sores and chronic injury.
Halo Technologies has the ability to design more ergonomic prosthetics using 3D scanning technology for a seamless fit that is completely customized to the user’s needs. The interior can be designed for high strength and structural integrity, while reducing the weight. This allows for more rapid improvements to prosthetics, making them more useful and functional.
3D scanning and 3D printing can greatly drop the associated costs of prosthetics in some cases. Traditional prosthetics can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars each. 3D printing can bring these costs down low enough that a person could have multiple prosthetics made, at a price much lower than that of traditional prosthetics. There are many cases where children have been unable to receive a properly fitted prosthetic until they’ve finished growing — again pointing to prohibitive costs. With 3D Printing, this is easily overcome.
In addition to these factors, Halo Technologies can design for aesthetics. Typically prosthetics have been flesh-colored, however the ability to customize 3D designs allows the user to provide input on what the end product will look like. The ability to create personalized prosthetics has become more popular and, with 3D printing, more accessible. Disney has now famously licensed designs for children’s prosthetics.
Surgical Guides and Anatomical Representations
With 3D scanning and printing, surgeons can produce a highly accurate replica of human tissue with bones, veins, arteries, nerves, and cancerous growths vividly highlighted and distinguishable. This allows surgeons to improve presurgical plans, thus potentially reducing surgical time under anesthesia, and promoting faster patient recovery.
A three-dimensional image can be great, but it simply doesn’t carry the same weight as holding an object in your hand. With 3D printing, any part of the human body can be reproduced with a high degree of accuracy as a teaching aid or reference. More importantly, an accurate representation can be produced of the ‘actual tissues of an actual patient.’
With the complexity of design and fabrication available with 3D printers, Halo Technologies can reproduce everything from anatomically exact models to hardware for medical tools that would otherwise be complicated to create. For physicians local to South Florida, Halo is prepared to act as an on-demand partner for manufacture of parts they can print from their West Palm Beach location.
3D printing and the dental industry
The dental industry is another where 3D printing can greatly help, from printing single-use cleaning tools dentists to printing custom prosthetics. Braces, crowns, orthodontics, and other hardware that perfectly matches the patient’s dimensions can be designed and fabricated with biocompatible materials.
3D printing can reduce the time a patient is in the chair, improving their service and reducing their stress. 3D printing reduces the time in designing a restoration, and improves the accuracy down to the smallest detail. With highly accurate renderings of oral topography, inserting devices can become faster and more efficient.
In addition to the examples mentioned previously, the uses (and potential uses) for 3D scanning, and CAD-driven 3D printing are expanding by the day. Traditional manufacturing techniques’ strength lay in the ability to produce large numbers of an identical item. Halo Technologies adds to that the ability to introduce fast customizations, too.
Traditional manufacturing relies on economies of scale to be cost competitive. 3D printing has the advantages of using materials with little to no waste, and removes any retooling inefficiencies. The more customized the item has to be, the more opportunity for increased efficiencies. With prosthetics as the clearest example, 3D printing takes items that formerly cost tens of thousands of dollars and makes them available for much less.
Further efficiencies can be found in the experience of the design team at Halo Technologies. Medical professionals located in West Palm Beach Florida have the convenience of custom prints on demand. Be sure to contact us to consult one-on-one with the Halo Technologies design team to discuss your project today.