3D printing is really beginning to make a huge mark in the medical field. Whether it is bioprinting of living tissue, 3D printing of models for surgeons and doctors to study, or 3D printed structures that are placed within the body, there is a bright future ahead for the medical field because of this upcoming technology.
A few months ago, we reported on a complete 3D printed cranium replacement, performed at Utrecht University’s UMC, in which a women received a 3D printed customized plastic implant for the entire top of her skull. Then in April, we reported on a man who, thanks to 3D printing had his skull completely remodelled.
Now, a surgeon at Sanatorio de la Trinidad located close to Buenos Aires, has used 3D printing to replace part of a patients skull. Dr. Raul Santiváñez, used a 3D printed titanium implant, that measured 125mm x 100mm and implanted it into the head of a patient who had suffered a large break of their skull.
The implant was specially made by NOVAX DMA, and was created using a type of metal called Trabecular Titanium. This material has a porous surface, to mimic that of human bone. This allows for better adhesion to the implant, and much faster healing times. NOVAX DMA used 3D printers manufactured by Arcam, which utilize an E-beam technology to fuse metal powder, layers at a time.
This certainly isn’t the last time we will see 3D printing used in creating prosthetic body parts, such as bone replacements, replacement limbs, and even bioprinted body parts. The future is certainly very bright when you combine 3D printing with other medical advances. It seems as though each month there is a new type of material being used for 3D printing within the medical field. As materials advance, and the 3D printing process becomes even more precise, we should see more and more surgeons begin to utilize the benefits of this technology.
What do you think? Will we begin to see more and more of these types of surgeries done on patients? Discuss in the 3D printed titanium skull implant forum thread on 3DPB.com