Medical manufacturing has made tremendous strides thanks to use of new technology, materials, and overall approaches to understanding how the human body works and can be restored when something goes wrong.


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In just the past few years, we’ve seen more dexterous and capable robotic prosthetics, 3D printed implants that replace vital bone and tissue, and the potential for diagnostic components that detect critical conditions from inside the body, among so many other breakthroughs.

These innovations are changing lives and will change the life for many patients in the future—they may very well affect your health someday—but there’s one type of medical patient that is unfortunately left behind in the design and development of medical technology: children.

Waiting For Products That Change Lives
Most of the medical marvels we’ve seen in the headlines are designed for the adult body, specifically, the average adult male body. Prosthetics are only recently being scaled down to suit women and patients with smaller frames.

Credit: Robert Lawton

As components shrink and materials and production methods become more flexible and customized, it gets easier to create smaller medical aids.

That’s good news for children who are waiting on prosthetics, implants, and other products that drastically improve lives, but pediatric medical aids reportedly still lag a much as ten years behind adult versions.

This leaves doctors and other health care providers with fewer options for kids in need of care, and it often means that medical devices must be jury-rigged or improvised using the standard adult sized models. The results are certainly better than nothing but they’re also far from ideal.

Why Are Pediatric Solutions Lagging?
So why have medical manufacturers not yet met the demand for pediatric medical devices? It’s not a matter of simply overlooking this important demographic of patients and their clear need, but a different range of challenges that come with designing, developing, and manufacturing medical aids for small and growing bodies.

Looking beyond the fact that there’s less of a financial incentive to build medical devices for children—since adults makeup the majority of that market—there’s also the problem of formerly testing and studying medical devices designed for children.

The Benefits Of Meeting A Medical Challenge
Despite those realities, there are manufacturers that are proving the benefits of meeting the need for pediatric medical solutions. By adapting materials and devices to suit smaller patients, companies are answering the call of parents and doctors who have very specific requests.

The results have included prosthetics that comfortably fit and grow with small children, scaled-down pacemakers that function reliably within an ultra compact structure, smaller diagnostic devices—like cameras and sensors—that are less invasive for children than adult versions, and many others.

The reason for serving such needs are apparent as young lives are saved and improved, but there’s also the reality that correcting medical issues in childhood means less need for medical aids and health care devices for adults.

Has the call for pediatric and scaled-down medical devices had an impact on your industry or company?

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