White Paper

3D Printing in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Industry

This white paper is an introduction to using 3D printing technology to create next-generation orthotics and prosthetic devices.

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Table of Contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Challenges: Traditional Workflows and Their Limitations
  3. Commonly Used Devices in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Industry
  4. Traditional Workflows for Manufacturing Orthoses and Prostheses
  5. Solutions: 3D Printing and Material Options
  6. Customer Focus: 3D Printing in Action
  7. Common 3D Printing Materials
  8. Formlabs-Specific Digital Process Guidance
  9. Choosing the Right Material
  10. Extending Orthoses and Prostheses Manufacturing With 3D Printing


Orthotics and prosthetics is the specialty within the healthcare industry that focuses on the development, design, manufacturing, and application of artificial appliances that stabilize, support, or replace limbs or other parts of the body. Today, the industry’s market size is approximately $6.5 billion dollars, with an expected annual growth rate of 4.2 %. The growth is driven by the need to improve patient care through the provision of custom-fit solutions that ease the traditional challenges associated with their use. This is where 3D-printed orthoses and prostheses have crucial roles to play.

According to IGI-sponsored research, traditional challenges associated with the use of orthoses and prostheses include discomfort related to fitting problems and health-related issues caused by material compatibility between the skin and the O+P device. To ease these concerns, healthcare professionals have placed emphasis on the importance of customization to meet the specific goals of individual patients. However, customization brings a new set of challenges – added expense and a time-consuming production process.

Today, the healthcare industry continues to explore new design, testing, and manufacturing options to reduce customization costs and speed up production cycles.

Challenges: Traditional Workflows and Their Limitations

Traditional workflows come with diverse challenges and potential for error that can compound at each stage of the workflow.

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