Customization and Personalization
The greatest advantage that 3D printers provide in medical applications is the freedom to produce custom-made medical products and equipment. For example, the use of 3D printing to customize prosthetics and implants can provide great value for both patients and physicians. In addition, 3D printing can produce made-to-order jigs and fixtures for use in operating rooms.Custom-made implants, fixtures, and surgical tools can have a positive impact in terms of the time required for surgery, patient recovery time, and the success of the surgery or implant. It is also anticipated that 3D printing technologies will eventually allow drug dosage forms, release profiles, and dispensing to be customized for each patient.
Increased Cost Efficiency
Another important benefit offered by 3D printing is the ability to produce items cheaply.1 Traditional manufacturing methods remain less expensive for large-scale production; however, the cost of 3D printing is becoming more and more competitive for small production runs.1 This is especially true for small-sized standard implants or prosthetics, such as those used for spinal, dental, or craniofacial disorders.The cost to custom-print a 3D object is minimal, with the first item being as inexpensive as the last.1 This is especially advantageous for companies that have low production volumes or that produce parts or products that are highly complex or require frequent modifications.
3D printing can also reduce manufacturing costs by decreasing the use of unnecessary resources.5 For example, a pharmaceutical tablet weighing 10 mg could potentially be custom-fabricated on demand as a 1-mg tablet.Some drugs may also be printed in dosage forms that are easier and more cost-effective to deliver to patients.
Fast in 3D printing means that a product can be made within several hours.4 That makes 3D printing technology much faster than traditional methods of making items such as prosthetics and implants, which require milling, forging, and a long delivery time.3 In addition to speed, other qualities, such as the resolution, accuracy, reliability, and repeatability of 3D printing technologies, are also improving.