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World’s First Surgery With In-House Produced Medical 3D Printed Implant

Medical 3D Printing PEEK Skull Implant

Source – Skåne University Hospital

A patient at Skåne University Hospital successfully received the first medical 3D printed implant. Using FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling), implants are 3D printed in PEEK, a bio-compatible material using the ApiumM220 3D printer. Other companies such as Lima Corporate have also announced they are developing on-site printing capabilities with metal implants such as those used during head trauma recovery processions, a relief that could save many lives every year.

CT Scans & Implants

“We are currently evaluating a method for printing cranioplasty implants that can be used in surgeries. With this method, we will have the entire chain, from designing and printing implants to fitting and surgery, in-hospital”, said Einar Heiberg Brandt, medical engineer in Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine at Skåne University Hospital and Wallenberg Centres for Molecular Medicine.

Medical 3D Printed Implant

With the assistance of CT images, an implant can be reverse-engineered and tailor-made with a specifically adapted and well-tested biocompatible plastic material. Printed on-site at Skåne University Hospital using the ApiumM220 3D printer, the implant can be produced quickly and sterilised at the hospital’s centre before it is ready for surgery on the patient.

Medical 3D Printing PEEK Skull Implant

Source – Skåne University Hospital

“As far as we know, we are the world’s first to make 3D implants entirely in a hospital, which means that the implants will be better adapted to the patients, right from the start. This will lead to faster surgeries and fewer complications”, Einar Heiberg Brandt says. This first surgery was performed using a hospital-printed cranioplasty implant, where the surgery was part of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ study.

“The surgery was successful. The patient is a 40-year-old woman who, after an accident, needed a cranioplasty. The study hopes to show that the surgeries can be carried out more quickly and that the risk of infections is reduced. Specifically adapted implants also reduce the risk of skin damage and enable our patients to recover faster”, comments Peter Siesjö, consultant in Neurosurgery and Pain Rehabilitation at Skåne University Hospital and professor at Lund University.

Some of the reasons why a patient needs cranioplasty are injuries, tumours and infections. Einar Heiberg Brandt identifies many possibilities with the new method: “This is only the beginning—she said. There are no barriers to writing other types of bone implants.”

PEEK is ideal for medical 3D printing applications due to its biocompatibility, heat resistance and ability to be sterilised a range of methods including; dry (180°C), gamma and etO. This material is complaint with ISO 10993 and USP Class VI standards.

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Sam Gribben

Managing Director at SGD 3D Limited

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