smithnFor the novice just taking a first look at a 3D printer or wondering what the technology is all about, it often comes as quite a shock to discover just how far-reaching its impacts are felt, from the cities with well-known manufacturers who now have large facilities dedicated to 3D printing, to developing countries experiencing the benefits of self-sustainability with diagnostic tools and access to a host of medical devices.

Indeed, many in the medical sector are delving heavily into the world of 3D printing, bioprinting, and the exploration of materials, with researchers all around the world presenting new concepts and innovations that will indeed change many processes as we know it, as well as improving the quality of many lives.

aaosAs metal 3D printing becomes more and more central to the industry due to its incredible strength and versatility, we often hear about the use of titanium, especially for implants. Now, Smith & Nephew is showing off a new product for hip replacements at this week’s American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting in Orlando.

With their new REDAPT Revision Acetabular Fully Porous Cup with CONCELOC Technology, Smith & Nephew hopes to make great strides in revision cases that have historically been difficult. With the goal being the encouragement of ingrowth, the company has turned to 3D printing. They are now able to fabricate a porous implant which will simulate the same structure as cancellous bone.

smithSmith & Nephew will also offer new hardware for the implants in the form of new variable-angle locking screws. With these, implant stability will be improved, as well as helping to minimize or eliminate post-surgical micromotion. They are meant to complement the implant’s unique shape, and provide both compression and rigidity.

“We’re excited about the creative possibilities this new manufacturing process holds for surgeons and their patients,” said Mike Donoghue, Vice President of Global Reconstruction at Smith & Nephew. “Bringing to market a 3D-printed titanium acetabular cup for difficult revision procedures is just one example of the potential of this remarkable technology.”

redapt stem“This fully porous cup gives surgeons flexibility in ways that simply weren’t possible before,” said Craig Della Valle, MD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who participated on the surgeon design team for the new REDAPT cup. “The locking screws, screw-in trials, purpose-built liners and screw hole patterns optimized for hard-to-access areas really set it apart during a revision procedure. This cup builds on good technology and turns it into something spectacular.”

Smith & Nephew is a global company, with headquarters in over 100 countries. Their dedication is to helping those in the medical industry improve the lives of their patients, and they continue to produce examples of this commitment with products like the new titanium 3D printed implant. This is made with a laser printer employing a thin layer of titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) powder. The metal 3D printing process heats the powder, eventually forming an incredibly strong part like the REDAPT cup. They are able to make complex devices, and can reinforce any areas of the porous device that they deem necessary.

The company received 510(k) clearance from the FDA last November and it is already available at ‘select sites’ in the US, aside from being on display at the AAOS Annual Meeting. Discuss this new technology in the 3D Printed REDAPT Cup forum over at 3DPB.com.

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