Accidents happen and sometimes tragic victims require replacement of critical bone structures. These replacement body parts have been constructed with Titanium for strength and durability. However, 3D printer manufacturer EOS has just developed a new process to produce craniofacial implants using PEEK, a high-temp, biocompatible plastic.
The custom laser-sintered implants are desirable because they can fit the patient's unique shape requirements very precisely. This technique also provides an interesting opportunity, according to Joerg Lenz, Collaborative Projects Coordinator:
EOS technology has enabled us to develop a specific geometry that can only be realized using additive manufacturing. This new design incorporates a mesh scaffold that promotes improved bone growth and optimizes infiltration with a hydroxyapatite-filled, bio-absorbable polymer.
In fact, EOS has applied for a patent to protect this innovative approach.
EOS will be presenting test implants at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing/MD&M West between Feb 8th and 11th, hopefully not directly into a patient!