Orthopedic Implants

The medical sector is today the largest adopters of 3D printing technologies for the production of consumer-targeted items, including prosthetics and implants. 3D printed orthopedic implants – especially knee and hip, but also spinal and CMF – are among the clearest example of digitally, additively mass produced final parts. And they are also among the first products that could be fully mass customized.

The history of additive manufacturing for orthopedic implants dates back over a decade, with earliest estimates for patient-specific implants being manufactured via AM around 2007. In 2010, an early adopter of electron beam based powder bed fusion technology from Arcam received one the very first FDA approvals for an orthopedic implant made via additive manufacturing.

Since these and other pivotal early achievements, the orthopedic implant industry has been somewhat quietly revolutionized by additive manufacturing. Over the past two years, the penetration rate for additive production of industry standard sized implants has been expanding rapidly towards a future where a majority of implants are produced additively. This expansion is happening in numerous implant areas including spinal, hip, knee, and other types of implants (where annual procedures are also growing).

Case studies for more standardized implants made additively have begun to further fuel the drive towards enabling more widespread use of true patient-specific devices. In this area, additive manufacturing represents the only true path to economic viability and production feasibility for implants designed and shaped to a specific patient with unique trauma, degenerative disease, or birth defects. Indeed, additive manufacturing will be a key piece of the holy grail of orthopedic (and other medical) care, in which physical solutions are tailored to the exact needs of an individual patient.

As a global opportunity within the broader AM market, orthopedic implants is growing to expand into new areas. The low hanging fruit that has powered the industry thus far remains in standardized implants fabricated in widely accepted alloys such as titanium. True patient-specific devices using these technologies and materials appear to be an inevitable growth extension where lower volumes and higher potential values per device exist.

Meanwhile, new developments in the additive fabrication of more advanced implants, including biodegradable and lightweight reinforced polymers, present cutting edge, green field growth scenarios in an already booming ‘additive orthopedic’ market.

  • Osseus, an innovative spinal solutions company, obtained FDA 510(k) clearance and launch of the Pisces-SA Standalone ALIF Interbody System. The Pisces-SA interbody can be used with both bone screws and alternative fixation bone anchors allowing for increased intraoperative flexibility. Biomechanical testing proved that the Pisces-SA anchors provide better expulsion resistance…

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  • Surgeons at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York Cirty completed the first patient-specific solutions designed and produced at the ProMade Point of Care Center for Complex Orthopedic Solutions at HSS (ProMade PoC) were successfully used in two complex joint reconstruction surgeries. The implants were produced by LimaCorporate,…

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  • 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) entered into an agreement to acquire Kumovis, a Munich, Germany-based additive manufacturing solutions provider for personalized healthcare applications. Kumovis’ solutions are built upon their unique extrusion technology specifically developed for precision printing of medical-grade, high-performance polymers such as PEEK (polyether ether ketone). These materials are often…

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  • Nvision Biomedical Technologies and Watershed Idea Foundry have received FDA clearance for the first-ever completely additive manufactured titanium anterior cervical plate, the Quantum Titanium Cervical Plate System. Recently cleared by the FDA, the Quantum system leads the way for game-changing design freedoms which push clinical benefits to new levels and…

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  • Skåne University Hospital is the first hospital in the world to 3D print a PEEK cranioplasty implant on site for it to be successfully received by a patient. The implant, based on Evonik‘s VESTAKEEP PEEK biomaterial filament, was 3D printed using the ApiumM220 3D printer from the German company Apium.…

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  • Advancements in additive manufacturing have the potential to significantly improve health care, allowing for surgical implants to be custom designed for each patient. Lauren Judkins, a graduate student in the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering, is adapting these advancements to enhance the recovery of patients who experienced rib injuries.“To…

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  • Bioconvergence company BICO is partnering with Nanochon, a startup developing regenerative joint replacements. Under the terms of the deal, Nanochon will purchase $1.5 million worth of products and services from BICO’s SCIENION to develop 3D printed regenerative joint implants. Nanochon’s novel joint implant technology promises to deliver faster and more…

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  • Health Canada Mandibular implant

    The medical 3D printing industry marked an exciting milestone in Canada this week: Health Canada (a government department tasked with national health policies) has approved a 3D printed medical implant made by LARA 3D in Quebec City. The 3D printed device, a patient-specific mandibular plate, is the first made by…

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  • Racehorses metal implant

    Clinique de Grosbois, a veterinary clinic outside of Paris, France, specializes in treating racehorses that have been injured in the sport of racing. Among the most common injuries they treat are neck fractures and vertebral fractures caused by falls. And while in many cases the horses can be treated using…

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  • PrinterPrezz, Inc., a polymer and metal 3D printing service provider specializing in medical devices, recently signed a lease to a new all-encompassing facility, adding to the current HQ buildings in Fremont, California. This acquisition doubles their existing Bay Area Innovation Center workspace, increasing their total floor plan to approximately 30,000…

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