Trend watch - The future of 3D printing

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3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is an advanced manufacturing process designed to produce components and end products using computer-aided design tools.

One of the main healthcare sectors to have benefited from advancements in 3D printing is the market for orthopedic, spinal and other reconstructive implants. Taken together, these markets are currently worth approaching US$30 billion annually, including US$9 billion for spinal implants, US$8 billion for knees, US$7 billion for hips, US$2 billion for extremity implants and US$1 billion for craniomaxillofacial products. In this area, the main benefit of 3D printing is that it enables the creation of structures once considered impractical or prohibitively expensive compared with traditional manufacturing techniques.

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