Cranial implants made with EOS technology.
Slovakian company CEIT Biomedical Engineering is using additive manufacturing to provide doctors with bone replacement material for cranial, jaw and facial implants.
Traditionally, metal cutting has been used to produce custom implants but can prove both time consuming and costly and often requires manual work during surgery for complex shapes. This new type of implant offers a more precise fit and higher success rate for patients.
“We wanted to explore the potential of additive manufacturing technology for implantology and at the same time develop solutions that were both helpful to patients and economical,” Associate Professor Radovan Hudak, Managing Director, commented. “Precision, reproducibility and surface quality were all high on the list of requirements, along with a production process that was as free as possible from production errors. The main aim was then to acquire state certification for cranial, jaw, and facial bone implants.”
After spending a year researching the additive manufacturing market, the CEIT team selected EOS to begin working with titanium alloys. The first implant was a replacement cranium piece in biocompatible titanium Ti-6Al-4V, measuring approximately 15cm. Using a CAD model produced from a tomography examination of the patient, the team produced an implant featuring a hollow lattice structure that would enable the in-growth of bone tissue and allow the integration of micro-sensors for recording medical data.
The process has now received official EU approval after successful registration from the Slovakian State Institute for Medicinal Control for the manufacture of implants for cranial, facial and jaw applications.
The CEIT team was created to promote additive manufacturing in the medical sector as a spin off company for the Technical University of Košice and is now continuing to produce bespoke implants with EOS technology.