The 3D cranial implant created by 3D Systems sets the stage for individualized patient care.


Voting for the highly anticipated 2023 3D Printing Industry Awards has officially begun! It’s time to cast your vote and support your favorite innovators in the field of 3D printing. One company that has recently made a significant breakthrough in this industry is 3D printer manufacturer, 3D Systems.

Using their cutting-edge point-of-care technologies, 3D Systems has successfully created a patient-specific 3D printed cranial implant for a procedure at the prestigious University Hospital Basel in Switzerland. This groundbreaking achievement was led by Prof. Florian Thieringer, the Head of Medical Additive Manufacturing Research Group (Swiss MAM) at the hospital’s Department of Biomedical Engineering (UNIBAS DBE), in collaboration with Prof. Raphael Guzman and the Department of Neurosurgery.

This accomplishment is particularly significant because it marks the creation of the first cranial implant produced at the point of care that complies with current Medical Devices Regulations (MDR). The market for cranial implants is projected to reach approximately $2.1 billion by 2030, offering solutions for trauma, defects, and reconstruction.

Prof. Thieringer expressed his excitement about this milestone, stating, “The successful implantation at the University Hospital of Basel is a pivotal moment for medical 3D printing, demonstrating its potential to revolutionize patient care. Our collaboration with hospitals across Europe, along with the invaluable expertise provided by POC APP AG around QMS and regulatory guidelines, showcases the power of advanced technology and collaboration in improving healthcare outcomes.”

So, how exactly did 3D Systems utilize their point-of-care technologies to create this groundbreaking cranial implant? They utilized extrusion printing technology known for its ease of use in creating durable, biocompatible implants using polyetheretherketone (PEEK) material. This technology allows for the production of patient-specific geometries directly at the hospital, offering advantages for both surgeons and patients.

In the case of the University Hospital Basel, the implant was successfully used to replace a section of a patient’s disintegrating skull. This patient, a 46-year-old male, had experienced complications following a stroke in 2019, resulting in severe headaches, visual disturbances, dizziness, and a sinking forehead due to skullcap disintegration. To create a customized implant model tailored to the patient’s unique anatomy, a computed tomography (CT) scan of his skull was acquired as the foundation.

The implant was then developed in the hospital’s 3D printing lab using Evonik’s VESTAKEEP i4 3DF PEEK on 3D Systems’ EXT 220 MED extrusion platform. The choice of PEEK was informed by its suitability for applications due to its lightweight and resistance to thermal and ionizing radiation, making it similar to human bone. Additionally, the 3D Systems printing technology adheres to stringent requirements for healthcare applications within sterile environments.

This success story is not an isolated incident. Another hospital, Salzburg University Hospital, has also experienced positive outcomes using 3D Systems’ point-of-care solution. They successfully created a patient-specific cranial implant for a 55-year-old male with craniosynostosis, a condition where the bones in an infant’s skull prematurely fuse. The hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery also used the technology for patient-specific post-decompressive craniectomy implants.

In addition to these remarkable advancements in the field of cranial implants, the healthcare sector is witnessing notable progress in 3D printing for various applications. For instance, Chicago-based biofabrication firm Dimension Inx has recently introduced CMFlex, an FDA-approved 3D printed bone graft that targets oral and maxillofacial surgery for bony defects, promoting bone regeneration. Similarly, Queen’s University Belfast researchers have developed personalized 4D printed breast cancer implants, utilizing adaptive technology for a better fit and the controlled release of chemotherapy drugs.

The future certainly looks promising for the use of 3D printing in the healthcare sector. As more advancements are made, we can expect to see further improvements in patient care, personalized treatment options, and the overall effectiveness of medical procedures. The collaboration between technology, healthcare professionals, and regulatory bodies will continue to play a crucial role in shaping this transformative field.

So, make sure to cast your vote for the 2023 3D Printing Industry Awards, and stay tuned for further developments in the exciting world of medical 3D printing!

3D printing has come a long way in the last decade. What started as a novel concept has now become a standard tool in many industries. But what does the future of 3D printing hold? What engineering challenges will need to be tackled in the coming decade?

To answer these questions, let’s take a look at the story and logic of 3D printing over the next ten years. But instead of a traditional blog post, let’s explore the possibilities in a more interactive format.

Imagine you’re at a tech conference, surrounded by innovators and experts in the 3D printing industry. As you walk around, you notice a group of people huddled together, engrossed in a conversation. Curiosity gets the better of you, and you decide to join in.

The group is discussing the potential of 3D printing in the medical field. One person mentions the recent breakthroughs in creating cranial implants using 3D printing technologies. They explain how 3D Systems has developed point-of-care 3D printing that allows doctors to create custom cranial implants for patients with skull defects. The possibilities seem endless – from personalized implants to complex surgical models.

As the conversation continues, another person brings up the challenges in scaling up 3D printing for mass production. They discuss the need for faster printing speeds, larger build volumes, and more efficient materials. The group collectively agrees that these engineering challenges need to be tackled to fully unlock the potential of additive manufacturing.

But it’s not just the industrial applications of 3D printing that are being discussed. The conversation shifts to the consumer side of things. One person mentions the rise of desktop 3D printers and the democratization of manufacturing. They explain how individuals can now create their own products at home, bypassing traditional supply chains and manufacturing processes.

Another person adds that this shift in consumer behavior poses its own set of challenges. With more people able to design and print their own products, intellectual property and copyright issues become more prevalent. The group agrees that regulations and standards need to be established to protect both the consumers and the industries.

As the discussion comes to an end, you can’t help but be excited about the future of 3D printing. The possibilities are endless, from personalized medicine to sustainable manufacturing. But you also realize that there are still many engineering challenges that need to be overcome.

You walk away from the group, your mind buzzing with ideas and possibilities. You can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring in the world of 3D printing. And you know that you’ll be at the forefront of this technological revolution, witnessing history in the making.

To stay up to date with the latest 3D printing news, make sure to subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter, follow them on Twitter, like their page on Facebook, and subscribe to their Youtube channel. And if you’re looking for a job in the additive manufacturing industry, don’t forget to check out 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry.

As you leave the conference, you can’t help but feel inspired. The future of 3D printing is bright, and you’re excited to be a part of it.

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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