3D Printing is in Your Head

Date: March 13, 2013

3D Printing on Your Mind?

Some people have 3D printing on their mind. Others have 3D printing in their head.

Earlier this week, an unnamed man had about 75% of his skull replaced with a 3D printed implant.

Connecticut-based Oxford Performance Materials (OPM) completed the surgery, which marked the first time a patient has received an implant made uniquely for him using 3D printing technology.

The patient, whose name and injury were not disclosed, had his skull scanned and the implant was edited using 3D CAD software in a process known as reverse engineering.

This makes a major milestone in the incorporation of 3D technology in the medical industry and is another example of how it is using 3D printing to improve quality of life and streamline medical procedures.
OPM president and chief executive Scott Defelice said 3D printing allows any type of bone to be replaced with an implant and that the technology can shorten surgery time, be less risky and more time effective.

"We believe our technology is highly disruptive, and it'll widely affect the orthopedic industry," said Scott DeFelice, president of Oxford Performance Materials.

We see no part of the orthopedic industry being untouched by this.”

Models can now be made with unprecedented accuracy and customization as patients implants are based around their own unique characteristics.

OPM uses materials that are bio-friendly.

According to their website, “traditionally, medical devices have been made with metallic compounds such as stainless steel or titanium. Today, biocompatible high performance thermoplastics offer several advantages over metals in terms of process flexibility, reduced weight, non-corroding, and tailored formulations to meet biomechanical and design criteria.”

Their materials can mimic properties like bone density, bone stiffness, abrasion resistance, minimization of detrimental stress shielding, compatibility with common sterilization methods and are chemically inert and non-absorbable.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved OPM's technology last month, paving the way for the surgery. 

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