Doctors have replaced 75% of a patient’s skull with an implant created by a 3D printer.
The implant, created by Oxford Performance Materials (OPM), is custom-made for the patient using 3D scanning equipment to create a CAD file to instruct the 3D printer. The implant was inserted on March 4, 2013.
The implant was created using a polymer called PEKK. The polymer is a well-suited material for use in place of bone. It is biocompatible, mechanically similar to bone, radiolucent, and osteoconductive.
Due to these characteristics of the polymer as well as the fact that a custom print can be provided in less than two weeks, these custom designed implants are likely to affect every aspect of orthopedics.
OPM has been selling their implants for awhile. Recently, due to their FDA 510(k) clearance, the implants are now cleared to be sold in the US market. OPM President and CEO, Scott DeFelice, believes that their polymer and manufacturing process “will substantially impact all sectors of the orthopedic industry.” He plans to continue seeking approval for custom designed implants throughout the body in an effort to improve outcomes and decrease costs.”