Tessa’s Weekly Picks – 3D Printed Bone Implants


Tessa Blokland  


Last week, it has been snowing in the Netherlands and the countryside has changed overnight into an amazing white wonderland, including slippery sidewalks, cycle paths, and highways. As you might know, I love hiking and taking long strolls in the countryside I live in, regardless of the weather conditions. I haven’t fallen on slippery roads yet (fingers crossed!) and broken something. Which led me to take a closer look at 3D printed bone implants. The advantages of additive manufacturing for bone implants are huge, such as the freedom to design geometries that are impossible to make with traditional manufacturing techniques (think of customized 3D printed bone implants to the patient’s anatomy). But even more important is creating such open structures throughout the implant (porosity) that bone growth onto and into the 3D printed implant increases. Who knows in the future a 3D-printed titanium skeleton isn’t that far-fetched, as you can see at the top image? It is a 3D printed hip cup holding a ball and socket in place.

This is a Tritanium TL from medical technologies corporation Stryker. Tritanium is a 3D printed hollow implant that consists of both solid and porous structures and is designed for bone in-growth and biological fixation.

What you see here is a collection of 3D printed bone implants in titanium. It is now possible – thanks to 3D scanning and additive manufacturing – only to replace the damaged part of a bone with a 3D printed bone implant, instead of replacing the entire bone.

This is a clear example of a 3D printed bone replacement prototype for cancer patients. You can also see the open structure in the 3D printed replacement for new bone tissue to grow onto and into. This prototype is part of a five-year project  ‘Just in time implants’ to “bring the technology to the theatre. While patients are having their cancer removed in the operating theatre, in the next room, we are custom printing an implant to precisely fill the space left after removal of the diseased bone.”

P3D Bone PSI  is a patient-specific 3D printed bone implant that remodels into real living bone. Developed by Particle3D, the implant is 3D printed according to the recipient’s bone tissue type, allowing a low risk of adverse effects, optimal functionality, and therefore fast recovery.

The last 3D printed spine implant example is manufactured by Osseus. Thanks to the open structure of the design bone tissue can grow throughout the 3D printed implant. According to the website, the high porosity reduces the implant’s radiographic signature, and 80-percent-implant porosity also provides an optimal biomechanical performance and graft packability into a patient’s anatomy. This should all contribute to a fast recovery of the patient.

LEO Lane_Weekly Pick_3D Printed Bone Implants

Each of Tessa’s weekly picks is a curated group of 3D printed designs, based on the week’s chosen theme. If you would like to offer a theme for Tessa, or if you have your 3D printed weekly picks you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest weekly picks every week in your mailbox.

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