In late October, Medical Innovations Labs of Austin, TX announced their new 3D printing hub. They plan to provide a hands-on lab environment for medical device inventors and clinicians to launch a new generation of innovation.

Since 2009, stock shares for printing giants such as Stratasys and 3D Systems have skyrocketed. The use of 3D Printing to create the world’s best medical devices can and will change the industry, especially as it relates to orthopedics.

As a team that brings inventors’ medical device innovations to life, we are very interested in this new wave of additive manufacturing.

Here are three trends that could drive 3D printing of medical devices in 2015:

Regulatory Considerations – A Continuing Conversation

This fall, the FDA held a public workshop at its White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, MD to discuss the technical considerations of 3D printing in the healthcare industry.

Medical professionals from top American universities and hospitals, along with prominent 3D printing companies, met to discuss the parameters of regulation in the entire printing lifecycle, along with specific clinical perspectives, including final device assessments and biocompatibility.

Technical challenges and solutions are still in their planning stage and will inevitably change over time. The regulatory conversation will be a big topic of discussion in the next year.

Investing in 3D Printing in the Medical Device Industry

Revolutionary medicine is an enticing thought for investors.

Medical devices will always be needed in modern medicine, especially as the Baby Boomer era ages.

As our modern business environment allows for decreased inventor boundaries, innovation will be possible on a much different and larger scale.

But because the healthcare industry has quickly embraced 3D printing, investors are concerned about the market growing too big, too fast.

The hype is still there. Several top business magazines have prophesied 3D printing in healthcare to be the next trillion dollar industry.

Word on Wall Street is that investors are very interested, but realize their commitment will be for the long haul. However, major players’ shares have increased sharply since 2009.

Strong Year for Orthopedics

The medical community is learning just how well rapid prototyping lends itself to orthopedics.

Just this summer, a story about a Baltimore-based woman whose knee pain and immobility left her in agony every day surfaced on the Internet, garnering much attention.

This woman’s doctor used a modern approach to total knee replacement using 3D technology.  Now, she says, her legs are stronger than they’ve ever been.

This year’s success in 3D printing for orthopedics will naturally continue in 2015 as the industry adjusts, adapts, and innovates.

The best is yet to come. Future applications will likely emerge after additional CE and FDA guidelines are developed.

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