advances in implant technology will be among the highlights of the Medical
Design & Manufacturing Show
in Anaheim, CA Feb. 8-10.
In one of
the leading examples, EOS will be showing
the first PEEK craniofacial test implants to be produced with laser-sintering.
implants were fabricated in Germany using the EOSINT P 800 system, which is the
first laser-sintering system worldwide operating at up to 385C for processing
EOS, high-temperature, biocompatible PEEK (polyaryletherketone) material is increasingly
being used as an alternative to titanium for craniofacial implants (produced
from CT-scan geometry) for patients with head injuries or congenital
manufacturing technology can't produce patient-customized craniofacial
implants, either titanium or PEEK, as economically or in as short a time span
as laser-sintering," says Joerg Lenz, collaborative projects coordinator for
EOS with a European Union-funded project called Custom-IMD
. "What's more, 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."†
The final test implant is filled with bio-absorbable SupraB/hydroxyapatite
compound. Hydroxyapatite is a calcium phosphate ceramic that is chemically similar
to the mineral component of bone and will support bone growth.
Coatings of hydroxyapatite are often applied to titanium or
stainless steel implants to improve surface properties. SupraB
is a polymer based on
EOS will be
showing an implant filled with the compound at MD&M. It was designed by a
team at AZM (the University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands) headed by Dr.
Jules Poukens. A patent for the network of holes in the unique mesh scaffold
has been submitted.
Lenz said he
will disclose the first validated in vivo (animal) results for laser-sintered
PEEK at an MD&M conference session. Human trials are planned for the
on a number of international standardization organizations, including ASTM
Committee F42 on additive manufacturing technologies.
of the EU program is to develop fully customized implants that are deliverable
within two days and designed solely on the clinical needs of the patient using
enhanced rapid manufacturing technologies. A focal point is development of
laser sintering refers to an additive manufacturing technology in which a
high-powered laser driven by a CAD file fuses tiny particles of metal or
plastic in incremental layers.