Titanium 3D printed implants transform craniomaxillofacial surgery

Surgical implant manufacturer Karl Leibinger Medizintechnik has added to its capacity to build complex titanium implants with metal 3D printing. The company purchased its first additive manufacturing machine from Concept Laser in 2013, and has been using the technology to make implants for craniomaxillofacial surgery, procedures for the head, face, and jaws.

Frank Reinauer, head of innovation and production of biomaterials at Karl Leibinger Medizintechnik, commented: ‘From numerous aspects we view titanium as providing the benchmark for implant technology. But there is another very important aspect in favour of additively manufactured titanium implants: the patient-specific geometry and precision fit. Ultimately this means a high level of functionality.’

The company said that it is now possible to produce large-scale reconstructions with complex geometries with additive manufacturing. In addition, the geometric freedom can also cater for specific aesthetic requirements. The parts have high strength, and the material is biocompatible.

Additive manufacturing with metal also offers the opportunity to manufacture specific partial surface roughness of the implant so that it can fuse with the bone quickly.

The surgeon can use imaging techniques such as CT or MRI to cater for the specific anatomy of an individual patient. The engineers from Karl Leibinger Medizintechnik process this to create STL data which serves as the initial data for 3D construction and manufacturing on a M2 Cusing system from Concept Laser.

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Analysis and opinion

By Dave MacLellan, Executive Director, AILU


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