How Many Hospitals Have 3D Printers?

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The medical industry has seen the light …

Not every invention is for every person. Sometimes an invention has a little niche that fills a big need and fits that niche the best. That seems to be the way it is for the 3D printer as some of its biggest contributions to civilization is in health care.

Hospitals, doctors, & nurses have seen the future and 3D printing is going to be a big part of that industry. Of all the contributions 3D printing has and can make, the medical industry should benefit the most.

To find out how many hospitals use the 3D printer in creating better medical treatment, just keep reading our article. It has the information you want to know about.

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How Many Hospitals Have 3D Printers?

There is no sense beating about the bush when it comes to this question. Finding a hospital that is using 21st century technology is vital for many people. Here is a list of regions of the world that have more than 1 hospital using 3D printing to perfect their medical care.

RegionNumber of hospitals
Canada & America113
United Kingdom 31
The EU 48
Japan 34
China 24
Australia  9
South America  9

While there are a lot of hospitals around the world using this technology, there is still a big hole in their worldwide use. Hopefully, the next few years will see a closure of that hole and more people get better trained medical personnel to handle their cases.

Why should hospitals have 3D printers?

If hospitals are truly concerned about the health and well being of their patients as well as the level of the care they provide, they should invest in 3D printing. There are several good, rational and sound reasons why they need to make this step.

Here are those reasons why this is one bandwagon that needs more participants:

  1. Providing better training to their personal- 2D imaging with all of its colors and graphs just does not match up with a model of a real organ in all of its 3D splendor. Radiologists, surgeons and top medical experts get a better view of the internal organs and can learn how to make better diagnosis and so on.
  2. Provide better medical education- the different teaching hospitals can use 3D models to provide better education to its medical students. These models also help explain complex medical cases a lot better than 2 D documents.
  3. Create better implants and faster- by the end of 2019 roughly 600,000 knee, hip, spinal, skull and other bone implants were to have been created by 3D printing. It is said that by 2027 that number will increase to 4,000,000. Patients get the help they need faster and easier.
  4. Personalized medical care- instead of having the doctor look at a generic image or model, the hospital can make 3D prints of specific areas of the patient’s body so the doctor knows their body and issues a lot better. This personalized study helps reduce the hours of surgery the patient must endure.
  5. Produced new surgical tools- these are vital as for some hip replacement surgeries were done with a chisel which made the bone surface very rough and hard to place the implant. 3D printing has helped create a better surgical tool that cuts the bone in 3 minutes instead of 30 and leaves a smoother finish.
  6. Improve medical & dental products- prosthetics, braces, dentures, restorations and clear aligners can be made from 3D printing, speeding up the quality and service. Right now this market is producing roughly $900 million in revenue and by 2024 it is supposed to go as high as $2.4 billion. Also, the 3D prints in this area can be custom made to fit the patient’s body.

Some major stumbling blocks to hospitals using 3D printing

There is, at least for America, some major issues that slow the progress of 3D printing done by hospitals. One such issue is the lack of regulatory guidelines and while different agencies are working to fill this void, the progress is slow and hinders the use of 3D printing in hospitals.

Another major issue that slows down the use of 3D printing is that the patient specific devices that are and can be used are very difficult to test. The traditional medical devices used in patients currently are manufactured as a one size fits all purpose.

When customized medical devices are made and used it is almost impractical and impossible to test them all to see if they are fit for use in a patient. A third issue that hinders 3D printing use by hospitals is, of course, money.

Most medical procedures are reimbursed through insurance coverage. But there are other aspects of 3D printing that are not covered and the hospital has to foot the bill. There is work underway to change this and other situations that hinder 3D contribution to medical care.

The future of medical 3D printing

It seems that the future of medical care is now set. With the addition of 3D printing medical professionals can get better training, better help inpatient care and make implants and other medical devices easier and cheaper to get.

21st century technology is making medical practice a lot easier and as more guidelines are written, hospitals will know how to proceed as well as fulfill their oath of ‘do no harm to the patient.

3D printing may have found a home in the medical industry and should make the best contribution to medical care than any other industry it is used in.

Some final words

Having an invention used at home may pad the inventor’s and maker’s bottom line but that may not be the best use of most inventions. Home use does not compare with the contribution that 3D printing can make in the medical world.

Out of all the hospitals in the world, those using this great invention are minute and too far in between to handle the medical demand.

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