The global Healthcare 3D Printing Market can register a CAGR nearly 16% over the forecast period (2012 to 2020). The industry is fueled by an expanding global population and rapidly evolving technology. With the aid of additive processes, 3D printers help create digital files with three dimensional views. 3D printing technology is based on the concept of “prototyping” that helps in the development of real usable parts & products.
Besides healthcare, 3D printing is applied extensively in areas, such as aerospace, research, government, industrial machines, automotives, and defense among others. In medicine, 3D printing is used in critical cases, like hearing aids, jaw implants, prosthesis, and heart surgeries etc. It is increasingly being used in hip implants, dental crowns, knee implants, and orthotic footwear. A number of healthcare professionals are trying to incorporate 3D printing in surgeries, since it lowers the risks associated with anesthesia.
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The worldwide industry is segmented as per applications, technologies, raw materials, and regions. According to applications, the categories are surgical instruments, implants, bioengineering, and surgical guides. Due to frequent applications in skull replacement, medical implants held the highest market share in 2013. Different types of implants are orthopedic, crani-maxillofacial, and dental surgical. In digital dentistry, 3D printing provides finished dental prosthetics in metal. The process is accurate, cheap, and minimally invasive.
According to technologies, the overall Healthcare 3D Printing Market is categorized into droplet deposition, photo-polymerization, laser beam melting, and electron beam melting. The droplet deposition segment generated highest revenues in 2013. It is sub-segmented into multiphase jet solidification, fused deposition modeling, and inkjet printing. Inkjet printing is widely applied in bio-printing, since it helps print living tissues. Bio-printing involves the use of bio-ink, a mixture of living cells. Bio-ink is a substance that can be printed into any desired shape. Raw materials that are employed in the healthcare 3D printing industry are ceramics, polymers, biological cells, and metals. Polymers dominated the overall market in 2013. Propelled by popularity, awareness, and technological advancements, this segment may continue dominating the market throughout the forecast period.
Geographically, the worldwide Healthcare 3D Printing Market is divided into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, and Rest of the World. North America is the leading regional market. Factors that fuel the region are well developed healthcare infrastructure, high R&D investments in 3D technologies, and surging healthcare spending. Owing to widespread adoption of 3D & 4D technologies and high healthcare expenditure, Asia Pacific may expand remarkably in the forthcoming years. Europe too, is expected to grow considerably during the same time period owing to surging demand for customized medical equipment.
Prominent companies operating in the global healthcare 3D printing market are Youbionic, Rainbow Biosciences, Roche Pharmaceuticals, 3D Systems Corporation, and Bio-Rad Laboratories. Early this year, a research team in Korea, with the help of a 3D bio-printer developed a special myocardial therapeutic patch for ischemic heart disease. This patch generates new tissues & blood vessels when attached to the patient’s heart. The researchers tested the same by transplanting the 3D printed heart patch into the epicardium of diseased hearts of lab animals. After the implant, it was observed that the patch lowered the hardness of a few fibrotic areas that were damaged by insufficient blood supply.