The rise of 3D Printing Technology in Healthcare

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  • By Western Alliance
  • Oct 17, 2016
3D printing technology producing an unknown product

A game-changer for industries from aerospace to consumer products and more, 3D printing technology is set to change healthcare, too. While the market is still very new, new devices and treatments made possible via 3D printing will likely disrupt some key healthcare businesses and improve the way doctors care for patients. The technology is not only proving to be very effective, but it is also relatively inexpensive, which makes it even more appealing and likely to keep growing in popularity. 

Facts and figures 

Research and Markets released a report called "3D Applications in Healthcare Market Insights, Opportunity Analysis, Market Shares and Forecast 2016 - 2022," which declared 3D technology to be one of the fastest growing markets in the world. The Harvard Business Review said the market grew 35.2 percent in 2014 as 3D printing increasingly proves applicable to a wide variety of industries. 

The healthcare industry in particular is becoming more reliant on the new technology, especially as it becomes less expensive. HBR explained that in general, new medical technologies are costliest when they first enter the market and then slowly become more affordable over time. However, 3D technology already is affordable and proving to have some exciting applications in healthcare.

What 3D tech can do for healthcare 

According to HBR, there are already a number of ways 3D technology is helping to heal people. For instance, 3D-printed airway splints have been developed for babies with a breathing condition called tracheobronchomalacia. The splints, which prevent babies' lungs from collapsing, are designed to grow as the baby grows.

There are 3D-printed facial prostheses for patients with eye cancer, 3D-printed skin for burn victims, 3D-printed casts that heal bones 40-80 percent faster than standard casts, 3D-printed pills and more. In addition, there are many exciting possibilities that are still in the research and development stages. Replacement organs for humans, for example, may become a very real possibility. 

Princeton University has already created a bionic ear that hears better than the typical human ear. Uses for other 3D devices is growing:  For instance, the company 3D Systems recently opened a 70,000 square-foot Healthcare Technology Center in Colorado that will display current products and also serve as an incubator for the advancement of 3D healthcare solutions -- from printing personalized medical implants and devices to surgical guides – according to 3D Printing Industry

How healthcare companies can take advantage of this trend 

While 3D printing technology may be more affordable than other medical equipment or cutting-edge treatments, many healthcare companies will still need to obtain financing to fully incorporate it into their medical practices and procedures. Western Alliance specializes in providing customized healthcare solutions that meet clients’ unique needs.

Consider a tailored approach to integrating 3D technologies through a CAPEX line of credit, or call on banking expertise to help optimize transactions for better cash management or gain streamlined access to secured loans.  Learn more about Western Alliance’s in-depth healthcare financing expertise to help your company integrate exciting 3D technologies.
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