Spinal implants are among the most sensitive of any that can be put into the body. Although 3D printed body implants have been around for a while – such as hip replacements, for example – spine experts have only just started to make use of this technology to benefit people with vertebrae problems. As one medic puts it, the use of 3D printing finally allows damaged spinal tissue to be treated intra-operatively.
Doctor Brian Gantwerker, of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles in Santa Monica, said that the use of 3D printing now allows him to construct custom cages that have been developed from intraoperative CT scans. Such imaging means that 3D printing Los Angeles spines is now a viable therapeutic route to go down.
Custom Orthopaedic Implants
Since the middle of 2019, the Hospital for Special Surgery formed in New York City has been working with a new additive manufacturing process to come up with tailor-made orthopedic implants for patients with spinal problems. The 3D printing facility they have used is similar to the one chosen by the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles insofar as it allows for custom CNC interfaces to be used. This means that data from the scans of patients can be fed directly into the 3D printing machines. According to Doctor Gantwerker, this is where 3D printing technology, “can and should shine.”
Developing Spine-Specific Treatments
Of course, one of the big advantages of use of 3D printing is that it can be put to use in a wide variety of fields, not just in medical science. That said, the technology is being developed so that the spinal implants of the future won’t merely be tailored to the shape required for individual patients but the material used to make implants will be more suited than ever before to go alongside natural vertebrae. For example, 3D printing additive manufacture is currently working on a material that can be used in many printing machines which will be suited to making implants for degenerative disc disease treatment. Others are working on 3D-printed titanium cages which can be utilized in the cervical spine as well as for assisting with trauma in the thoracolumbar spine.
Like any sort of bodily implant, medical science needs to understand the wear and tear that will inevitably occur over the longer-term with 3D printed versions. Only time will tell which materials are not just beneficial to patients in their immediate treatment but which can go on to provide them with the desired fluidity of movement in their spines as they age.
How to use a 3D printing service for the medical industry
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