Additive Manufacturing in Healthcare

Marisela Rodríguez-Salvador, Leonardo Azael Garcia-Garcia
2018 Foresight and STI Governance  
T he presence of additive manufacturing (AM), in particular 3D printing, is relatively young, but dynamic field that is changing the face of many sectors. Additive production technologies provide wide opportunities for the creation of complex and personalized products and the reduction of time, labor, and other expenses. This paper will focus on AM in healthcare and identify the main areas for its application and the most popular materials. The period under analysis is from January 2005 to
more » ... anuary 2005 to April 2015. The analysis involved an iterative search to establish the best queries for retrieving data and a patent . analysis. The obtained results were assessed by experts in the field. Through this research, three main applications were identified with dental prosthetics being the most prolific. A wide range of materials were identified, where plastics predominate. Polyethylene was most frequently patented for vascular grafts and tendon replacements, while ceramics were found to be the most useful material for dental applications. Only a few patents disclosed the use of metals, titanium being the most prevalent. This research provides valuable insights for the advancement of additive manufacturing in healthcare applications. E ffective strategy planning for research and development (R&D) is impossible without an understanding of the emerging scientific and technological landscape and the latest breakthroughs. Over the last several years efforts have been devoted to assessing the evolution of technology through an analysis of scientific publications and patents. This research incorporates a competitive technology intelligence (CTI) method through patent analysis and is complemented by an expert assessment. Competitive technology intelligence is the systematic process of gathering and analyzing information to support strategic planning for innovation. Among other tools CTI utilizes patent analysis as an indicator of technological growth, to identify advances in processes, new materials, and the more active players. Patenting is considered one of the key ways of protecting intellectual property [Okamoto et al., 2017; Zhang et al., 2015] , which provide unparalleled value for business, law, industry and policy-making communities. These documents are organized, classified, and processed in such a way that provides information such as inventor's name, owner, claims, etc. Patents can also be used to monitor technology trajectories [Bonino et al., 2010] . Economic indicators have been also associated with patents, for example they help address connections between technology and trade [Archibugi, Pianta, 1996] and help elucidate the strong relationship between the activity of an industry and the pattern of industrial specialization. The growth of industries is influenced by technology, and this is better understood through an analysis of the industries' innovative activities and national performance [Fabry et al., 2006; Rodríguez et al., 2014] . Patent analysis has established itself as a great platform for knowledge discovery [Bonino et al.,
doi:10.17323/2500-2597.2018.1.47.55 fatcat:xd7gbvigubczfdnzd5apbax6je