Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 32

AM: Quickly Adapting in Tandem with Medical Innovation
Recently, we've seen a lot of talk around the topic of the
healthcare industry still being in the midst of stabilizing
inventory and recovering from the post-pandemic peak. When
resources were being drained rapidly due to the increased
demand onset by the COVID-19 pandemic - hospitals, doctor's
offices, and other healthcare providers were forced to
develop solutions quickly to maintain adequate safety measures
for their staff and patients alike.
This last year is just one proof point of how additive manufacturing
(AM) is shaping the narrative around health. While
AM brings speed and efficiency along with the option of an
alternative supply chain, it also brings the ability to create a
bespoke approach to patient care.
■ Why Adaptability Is Crucial
Additive manufacturing, otherwise frequently referred to as
3D printing, was instrumental in assisting businesses to quickly
pivot their manufacturing services to personal protective
equipment (PPE) at scale during the peak of this unprecedented
period of time. The ability to respond quickly and adapt to
the current landscape makes AM an ideal solution to produce
parts that are in short supply, either due to a surge in demand
or as a result of supply chain disruption. When patient morphologies
or supply deviate from the understood norm, the
adaptability of 3D printing is crucial.
The manufacturing time for a 3D printed product can be as
soon as a couple of hours, and depending on the application,
this method could be quite faster than other methods of production.
When it comes to developing prototypes for new medical
devices, 3D printing can not only be much faster, it can
also be cost- effective to manufacture products.
With AM, supply can be determined based on the day's current
demand or by printing " as needed " - leading to
increased efficiency, by reducing the amount of wasted product.
There are also greater technical capabilities with 3D printing
being able to produce lightweight, lattice-type structures,
compared to injection molding manufacturing.1
■ Materials Usage In AM
AM's unique ability to utilize various polymer and metal
materials is significant in medical device manufacturing. With
the varying properties of each filament, engineers can develop
customized options for their end users. For example, materials
like nylon and titanium are ideal for use in healthcare production
due to their biocompatibility.2
Custom orthotics created with additive manufacturing by Forecast 3D for
FitMyFoot.
Throughout the past couple of decades, engineers and scientists
have also been researching the possibility of using organ
cells and tissues in additive manufacturing. With this research,
the industry is working towards the ability to 3D print new
organs for transplants.
The applications of this technology would lead to the availability
of custom-made organs, derived from patient's own cells
and tissues. These manufacturing breakthroughs would in turn
lead to a significant decrease in the rejection rate of organ
transplants.3 This research shows the potential future possibilities
of 3D printing in the healthcare field.
■ Custom Applications of AM
The AM process has immense value when it comes to creating
patient-specific solutions. Each 3D printed item can be
developed to precise specifications for patients who require a
custom-fitted device. These medical devices range anywhere in
complexity from anatomically correct models for complex surgeries
to custom-made arch-supporting shoe inserts.
One type of custom solution that has been developed using
3D printing are life-sized anatomical prototypes - not to be
confused with 3D printing of actual organs. These 3D models
are used as tools for complicated surgeries and educational
opportunities for medical students.
Anatomically accurate jaw created by Forecast 3D.
32
Cov
Utilizing these resources as diagrams, doctors can gain a better
visual understanding while preparing for patient treatments.
This can be especially useful in surgeries that are not
routinely performed - or even when comparing the physiology
of an adult to a child for determining surgical procedures.2
An example of a custom AM hybrid-solution product would
be FitMyFoot's arch support insoles. Doctors and engineers
identified the arch as being the most valuable component of
shoe support inserts; so they set forth in identifying a way to
custom build a product specific to the recipient.
Their solution was a combination of a stock injection-molded
piece for the bottom layer, with the 3D printed arch support
being manufactured for the top layer. This unique approach
digitally maps each foot, using over 200 points to create a 3D
printable file unique to each individual foot.4
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Medical Design Briefs - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Medical Design Briefs - June 2021

Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Intro
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov4
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov1a
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov1b
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov1
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov2
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 1
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 2
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 3
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 4
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 5
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 6
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 7
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 8
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 9
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 10
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 11
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 12
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 13
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 14
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 15
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Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 18
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 19
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 20
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 21
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Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov3
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - CovIV
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