False teeth, hip joints and replacement knees - and potentially printable skin and organs - will drive growth in the burgeoning market for 3D printers over the next decade, according to new research.
A report suggests that dentistry and medicine will increasingly harness one of the 21st century's most exciting technological breakthroughs.
The technology is now better known to many households for its ability to replace broken crockery or to produce awkward figurine selfies.
But a report by Cambridge-based market research firm IDTechEx says ceramic jaw or teeth implants and metal hip replacements will become increasingly common 3D fare.
The parts are created by nozzles laying down fine sedimentary layers of material that build a product indistinguishable from an item that has rolled off a factory conveyor belt.
The dental and medical market for 3D printers is expected to expand by 365 per cent to US$867 million by 2025, according to IDTechEx analysts, even before bio-printing technology is taken into account. If bioprinting becomes suitable for commercial use, which scientists hope will allow the printing of pieces of skin, liver or kidney using live cells, analysts estimate the medical market could reach a value of US$6 billion or more within 10 years.
While printing of complete organs for transplants may be decades away, the use of pieces of tissue for laboratory toxicology tests for cosmetics or drugs could be ready within five years, helping the medical market for 3D printers overtake other sectors.
Dr Jon Harrop, a director of IDTechEx, said: "Bioprinting is a bit unsure as it doesn't exist commercially at the moment, but all the medical professionals we interviewed thought it was highly likely to be commercial within 10 years."
At present, 3D printers are most widely used in the automotive industry, where they help produce prototypes for new cars or car parts.
Already, 3D printers have been used by the medical industry to create a jaw, a pelvis and several customised hip replacements from metal. This year, surgeons in northeast England created a titanium pelvis for a man who lost half his original one to a rare bone cancer, while in May doctors in Southampton, on England's southern coast, completed Britain's first hip replacement made using a 3D printer.