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3D printing is revolutionizing the medical field.
The market research firm IDTechEx says the medical and dental market for 3D printers will grow from $141 million today to $868 million by 2025. That's a 515% jump.
And we've found the perfect ETF to buy that will profit from this upcoming decade of growth.
First, a look at how 3D printing is changing the medical field as we know it…
Transforming Lives with 3D Printing
Earlier this year, a 12-year-old Chinese boy received an artificial vertebra made by a 3D printer.
Traditional surgery would have been complicated and risky. But with the artificial vertebra, the child is expecting a quicker recovery. He'll also experience fewer long-term side effects.
Money Morning's Tech Specialist Michael Robinson – a 34-year veteran of Silicon Valley – said this case is one of the most astounding accomplishments he's seen in his career.
"The operation underscores how 3D printing is already transforming medical care," Robinson said.
3D printers let doctors create custom implants that perfectly fit the patient's anatomy – and China's case isn't the only country using it.
Two years ago a 15-year-old girl in Sweden received a 3D printed artificial hip. Recently, a 22-year-old patient in the Netherlands had the entire top part of her skull replaced with pieces from a 3D printer.
"Given the diversity of examples, and these are just a few, the uses of 3D printing in science and healthcare appear virtually unlimited," Robinson said.
But picking an individual stock to capture this market's growth is tricky.
"This market presents investors with a profit opportunity and challenge," Robinson said. "The diversity of custom designs has slowed the rate at which one company can emerge as a clear 'pure play' on a major U.S. exchange."
That's why some of the most popular names in 3D printing are not good buys right now – like the biggest name on the 3D printing market, 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD).
DDD has been moving into the medical field by creating a Personalized Surgery and Medical Devices division. It now develops dental and anatomical models, surgical guides, implants, and prosthetics.
DDD has also been on the acquisition trail. It bought the patient-specific medical device company Medical Modeling Inc. in April. In July, it purchased Simbionix, which works with 3D virtual-reality surgical simulation.
While the company has a strong long-term outlook, its stock faces some headwinds.
"Despite these huge medical advances, DDD is under pressure, in part because of sector overvaluation based on perhaps a little too much industry optimism," Robinson said. "DDD fell recently after offering reduced guidance for its forthcoming third-quarter earnings. It's now off more than 62% year to date, yet still carries a 101.1 P/E ratio."