First operation with individualised 3D-printed cervical titanium implant completed

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For the first time a patient with a degenerative cervical spine problem has been treated with an anatomically adapted 3D-printed titanium fusion implant.

The operation was planned and executed by Uwe Spetzger, professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery of the Klinikum Karlsruhe in Germany. He is the current president of the annual meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery.

The implant was designed by EIT Emerging Implant Technologies GmbH, a newly formed company that is dedicated to 3D-printed implant solutions. EIT partnered with 3D Systems in the 3D design and manufacturing process.

This additive manufacturing method allows the material to mimic the trabecular bone structure. EIT cellular Titanium with micro-, macro- and nanostructural features provides high stability and speeds up the bone healing and fusion process. It provides an optimal biomechanical and biological environment for natural bone ingrowth without the need to add bone graft. The individualisation fits exactly to the patient’s individual anatomy.

The goal of the individualisation of a series implants is to reduce typical implant-related complications such as migration, subsidence or delayed fusion, all of which are related to insufficient bone-implant contact of standard implants.

Spetzger said, “We are fascinated by the possibilities of this new technology combining modern computer-aided design and custom-made manufacturing of a high-tech cervical implant. The future of patient individualised spinal implants has begun.”

Stephanie Eisen, chief executive officer of EIT commented, “In two to three years we will be able to provide an individualised series implants at reasonable cost. Individualisation will deliver better implants, faster and easier surgery and better patient outcome. The reoperation rates in spine surgery are by far higher than for example with hip or knee implants. It is our mission to change this.”

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