A unique prototype of prosthetic thumb, designed by Dani Clode, was developed using the 3D printing technology and is intended to become an extension of the user’s hand. The device, controlled by the user’s foot, aims to mimic the functioning of a regular thumb. It is further being developed for neuroscientific research at the University College London.
3D printing technique is used to create three-dimensional objects by adding layers of a certain type of material on top of each layer. The objects formed are functional in nature and hence the technique is widely being developed for production of prosthetics in the medical industry.
The recent development of 3D printed thumb has raised the demand for the product in healthcare industry. 3D printed thumbs are artificial thumbs designed in order to either replace an amputated thumb or to add an extra thumb as an addition to the forelimbs. Moreover, the use of 3D printed thumb as an extension of the body is estimated to further increase the demand for the device.
According to Amputee Coalition, currently there are around 2 million people in the United States who are living with limb loss.
The growing requirement for prosthetics is estimated to increase the demand for 3D print technology in the medical industry. The 3D printed thumb market is anticipated to record a significant CAGR of over the forecast period i.e. 2019-2027. The market is segmented by component, by material, by end user and by region, out of which, the material segment is further segmented into plastic, metal, ceramic and others. On the basis of materials, the plastic segment is estimated to hold the largest share of the 3D printed thumb market on account of lightweight property of various forms of plastic that is highly desirable for prosthetics. Plastic polymers can be customized according to the requirement of patients on the basis of strength and thickness of the product. The various advantages of using this material for the creation of 3D printed thumbs is estimated to exhibit a significant impact on the market growth.
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Approximately 185,000 amputations take place in the United States every year, as reported by Amputee Coalition. The rising number of accidents and injuries resulting in loss or malfunctioning of limbs is estimated to increase the demand for prosthetic devices, including artificial thumbs. The 3D printing technology for manufacturing of medical products is anticipated to satisfy the requirement in the upcoming years.
Increasing advancements in technology leading to development of software for the production of high quality 3D printed products is estimated to propel the market growth. Moreover, the various 3D printing technologies is anticipated to allow the creation of different type of prosthetic thumbs as per the requirement, further expanding the market during the forecast period.
A key factor estimated to hamper the growth of 3D printed thumbs market is the high cost of 3D printers that restricts the production of artificial thumbs in sufficient quantities. Along with this, the lack of skilled professionals that can develop the technology and efficient prosthetics using 3D printing techniques is another factor estimated to restrain the market growth.
Our in-depth analysis of the 3D printed thumb market includes the following segments:
On the basis of regional analysis, the 3D printed thumb market is segmented into five major regions including North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East & Africa region.
The market in North America is estimated to hold the largest share in the 3D printed thumb market. This can be attributed to the growing cases of accidents and injuries which raise the demand for prosthetics in the region. Highly established healthcare infrastructure and increasing investments in research and development activities in the 3D print technology for production of medical devices is an additional factor estimated to further expand the market. The market in North America is followed by the market in Europe, which is anticipated to hold the second largest share in 3D printed thumb market during the forecast period on account of rising number of patients that require prosthetics.
The 3D printed thumb market is further classified on the basis of region as follows:
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