While the use of 3D printing technology in the healthcare sector aims to make healthcare as affordable as possible for everyone, orthopaedics and prosthetics have gained the spotlight among 3D printing device manufacturers.
In addition to a wide availability of technically advanced orthopaedic prosthetics, escalating demand for custom-made orthopaedic prosthetics is likely to push the growth of the global orthopaedic prosthetics market in the next decade.
Although associated risks and technical complications are still creating a major roadblock in the widespread adoption of orthopaedic prosthetics, a new set of technological innovations holds the promise to positively influence the sales of orthopaedic prosthetics in the near future. One of the innovations includes 3D printed orthopaedic prosthetics, which has been observed to impact the scenario for customized orthopaedic prosthetic devices.
3D printing becomes fast-track technology for tailor-made orthopaedic prosthetics and supports
3D printing is identified to be a rapid way for manufacturing customised orthopaedic supports and prosthetics that efficiently compensate for a deformity predominantly caused due to a lost limb or paralysis.
3D-printed test sockets have already been registering a consistently positive feedback from patients, due to their comfort, convenience and well-fitted design.
The Handicap International (Humanity & Inclusion) charity has initiated the use of 3D printing technology in the making of customised orthopaedic prosthetic devices. This technology offers faster production of devices and wider outreach.
Already having launched in developed economies, followed by significantly growing adoption, these custom device manufacturing technologies are still in their nascent stage within developing economies, prominently due to a supply-demand imbalance. A recent survey shows that a maximum of 5% of the total 15% patient population within emerging economies who need a prosthetic support, brace or limb are currently able to get one.
The charity is constantly emphasising research and development (R&D) and clinical trials for 3D-printed orthopaedic prosthetics within developing countries with poor infrastructural settings. The non-government organisation’s (NGO) current programme is gaining enormous funds and has offered free made-to-measure 3D orthopaedic prosthetic devices to hundreds of patients.
While 3D printing is being perceived as a revolutionary method for orthopaedic doctors located in remote areas or conflict zones, the scanner involved in this process is compact, portable, and convenient to use. However, the high price points associated with the manufacturing of these orthopaedic prosthetic devices will continue to limit adoption over the next few years.
Reimbursement scenario plays a crucial role in pushing adoption
Rising instances of accidental injuries and growing prevalence of arthritis have been the key factors fueling the demand for orthopaedic prosthetic devices over the years. Increasing adoption of advanced technology and customised implantable products will also push the market for orthopaedic prosthetics in the next few years.
Favourable reimbursement policies for orthopaedic prosthetics will continue to keep the market up in developed economies. However, the market for orthopaedic prosthetics within emerging economies is anticipated to thrive at a relatively moderate pace due to inadequate reimbursement scenario and lower awareness about the advances and availability of orthopaedic prosthetic devices.
As indicated by a recently released market research intelligence report by Future Market Insights (FMI), the global market value for orthopaedic prosthetics will possibly cross the mark of $3bn by the end of 2028. During the 2018-2028 projection period, the global orthopaedic prosthetics market is expected to witness progressive expansion at a CAGR of 5.1%.
The prices of 3D printed orthopaedic prosthetics will possibly witness a dramatic fall in near future, provided that the trials go well and prove to be successful among a considerably large patient population already using 3D orthopaedic prosthetics. It remains to be seen to what extent the innovation in 3D printing will impact the existing options available in orthopaedic prosthetic devices. Will growing popularity and adoption of 3D printing technology among orthopaedic prosthetic device manufacturers set the global orthopaedic prosthetics market at a higher momentum?
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