Use of bioabsorbable polymers as a medical device is moving to what I think is an amazing new level. Abbott vascular announced successful initial tests of a full bioabsorbable stent used to prop open diseased coronary arteries. The device is called ABSORB because it is completely absorbed back into the body after it restores blood flow, and the blood vessel heals. Six month results for the first 30 patients in the Abbott trial showed similar rates of success as metal stents. The new stent is made of polylactic acid, which is widely used in dissolvable sutures and anchor screws. Engineers in Japan are also rapidly developing mechanical applications for PLA.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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