If you are at all curious about how 3D printing is shaking up the medical space, you should make a point of attending the MD&M West exhibition and conference in Anaheim, CA, next month. The largest medical manufacturing event in the nation, MD&M West will devote a full day to a discussion of 3D printing, exploring its use in everything from prototyping and the production of finished custom devices to bioprinting tissues and organs. The regulatory pathway in all its twists and turns also will be addressed. One of the high-profile speakers at the session, Scott Hollister, PhD, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, can be called a miracle worker. He made headlines a few months back when he and a colleague at the university, Dr. Glenn Green, designed and 3D printed a tracheal splint that saved the life of an 18 month old. PlasticsToday reported on the story in March 2014.
While 3D printing clearly has tremendous potential in advancing medical technology, it is not without its challenges. Hollister will address some of them during his presentation, "Material developments for 3D printing: From biocompatible polymers to metals," on Feb. 10.
Materials pose a number of challenges in 3D printing of medical devices, Hollister told PlasticsToday.