3D printed titanium implants are the future for the medical industry
Titanium and 3D printing are perfect for the medical sector because titanium is one of the few metals that is bio-compatible with the human body. 3D printing / Additive manufacturing can create custom implants specific to every individual patient, at very fast speeds. Having a custom medical device improves the chances of a successful surgery and makes a life-changing difference for the patient.
With developments in medicine, the medical implant technology has developed in leaps and bounds. Today, additive manufacturing / 3D printing is a technology with the potential to transform patient’s quality of life. Utilising the latest CT scan and MRI based technologies to create accurate data to be printed with laser precision, this technique enables quality, complex anatomical reconstructions within days to meet the requirements of surgeries and procedures. 3D printed titanium devices for the medical industry requires a specific grade of titanium powder and the manufacturing conditions must be pristine and to the exacting standards of medical certifications.
Benefits of utilising 3D printing / Additive manufacturing to manufacture patient-specific implants include:
Custom prosthesis in the past requires a surgery for the patient’s jaw to be wired together for 10 weeks while the joint is built and an additional operation to implant it. Alternatively off-the-shelf bulk manufactured prosthesis in standard sizes are adapted by surgeons to fit the patient. Now the patient only requires one additively manufactured titanium implant, which reduces the risk of delamination with integrated trabecular structures and patient’s distress. For surgical guides, Additive Engineering utilise established high performing selective laser sintering system EOS Formiga 110 Velocis for the manufacture of medical grade PA2200 to deliver custom surgical guides in preparation for surgeries especially in delicate areas.
Additive manufacturing / 3D printing technology allows streamlining of the design process to custom make one unique part per patient to accurately match the patient’s CAD file. This minimises the time for implant fittings with consultations involving specialists including surgeons, prosthodontists, prosthetists and medical implant developers, saving the patient consultation time, fees and stress.
With studies done on implants used in reconstruction of maxillofacial defects and dentistry, the ability to create complex design in biocompatible titanium with surface roughness is believed to deliver better osseointegration compared with smooth surfaces. This results in a shortened healing process for the patient. The enhancement of biological enhancement in implant surface materials and design continues to evolve as more 3D printed implants are used in the medical application to assist bone growth in bone loss and bone defects.
Advancements in software allows design for additive manufacturing which are organic, complex designs that cannot be effectively produced using other manufacturing methods. Design can be made lighter, porous titanium implants with lattice structures and using the material that is required creates a perfect match medical device in shorter lead times.
Maxillofacial implants printed by Additive Engineering in Titanium were used to deliver a unique custom fit for surgery in a delicate area of the body. Implants are bespoke to each patient to be a perfect fit, as a result reducing consultations and surgery time by 70%, optimising patient outcomes and halving recovery time.
To learn more about the bio-compatible titanium alloy material Additive Engineering uses,
Currently, there are custom-made affordable medical devices for patients living without teeth. Dental implants can be done in a dental chair; streamlining the clinical experience for the patient without lengthy bone grafting procedures. Patients wake up with a new set of teeth and confidence to step out to enjoy the simple things in life. With the technology needed to develop and manufacture 3D printed titanium implants, bone formation, rib cage reconstruction, bespoke medical prosthesis and custom cranial implants will soon be as accessible as dental implants.