July 3, 2022

3D printed implants halves recovery time

In 2019, it has been estimated that 600,000 implants were produced with 3D printing. Demand-driven by an ageing population, joints wearing out with sports, bone loss with trauma, and medical conditions, it is no wonder the requirement for implants is projected to grow to four million by 2027. Additive manufacturing has been used since the 1990s to customise patient-specific implants. This technique makes surgeries easier with 3D printed surgical guides and also leads to better healing outcomes for the patient. Osseointegration is the medical term for the direct structural and functional connection between living bone and the surface of a load-bearing implant. Because titanium alloy is around three to four times stiffer than bones, biomechanical engineers must tailor the size and shape of the implant’s lattice structure to adjust the pliability of the implant to be closer to the bone’s stiffness. Research has shown the rough texture of lattice structures in implants (that can only be made with 3D printing) promotes osseointegration and facilitates soft tissue and bone regrowth. Metal implants are 3D printed using powder bed fusion technology, including…
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