3D PRINTED IMPLANTS – AN INTRODUCTION
3D printed implants have, in recent years, received significant media attention. At PDR, we too have received some of this attention, and have witnessed the effects that over-simplified reporting of the technique can have on public perceptions regarding its possibilities and its availability. Custom designed and 3D printed implants can certainly demonstrate major improvements over more conventional treatments, across a range of complex and routine scenarios. They can optimise the accuracy and appearance of surgical outcomes; improve the predictability of the surgery; reduce the amount of time an operation takes; reduce the likelihood of failures and revisions; and encourage better integration with existing bone.
However, just as every 3D printed implant is different, so is every surgeon, implant designer, and 3D printing manufacturer. Simply printing an implant, using what are by now well-established technologies, cannot guarantee surgical success. Safety and success depend on close collaboration between design engineering expertise, production engineering, and most importantly, an engaged and enthusiastic surgeon or surgical team. Quality control and regulatory compliance are clear pre-requisites; for ensuring that the right custom implant is produced.
Consequently, enquiries about patient-specific 3D printed implant designs must be made by your surgeon – who will ultimately dictate the design of the device. We cannot realise designs for non-specialists. Our role is to define and then model your surgeon’s design(s) – based on their clinical expertise and their assessment of your unique needs. If you would like your surgeon to discuss the possibilities of 3D printing in surgery, please provide them with the contact details below.