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Innovative features in implants through beam melting

A new approach for additive manufacturing of endoprostheses
: Müller, Bernhard; Töppel, Thomas; Gebauer, Mathias; Neugebauer, Reimund


Bártolo, P.:
Innovative developments in virtual and physical prototyping : Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Advanced Research in Virtual and Rapid Prototyping, Leiria, Portugal, 28 September - 1 October, 2011
London: Taylor & Francis, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-415-68418-7
ISBN: 978-0-203-18141-6
International Conference on Advanced Research in Virtual and Rapid Prototyping <5, 2011, Leiria>
Fraunhofer IWU ()
bio manufacturing; biomedical technology; implant; endoprostheses; additive manufacturing; laser beam melting; functional integration

At the current state of the art, endoprostheses are predominantly manufactured by cutting, forming or casting technologies. Another, rather new way of implant manufacturing is the Additive Manufacturing process called Beam Melting, using a Laser or Electron beam. In particular the customized production with no need for any type of tooling, combined with the unique freedom of design spark interest in this technology for implant manufacturing. The use of Beam Melting enables the fabrication of endoprostheses with almost any design of inner and outer geometries. Previous developments and research activities were focussing either on customized, patient specific implant designs with a production batch size of only one piece, or on structured surfaces of specific design for better bone ingrowth and improved stability of the implant-bone bonding. Both approaches have not yet reached a significant breakthrough for Additive Manufacturing as an adopted technology to produce (metal) implants, besides some niche applications, e. g. for individual cranial or jaw plates or some Electron Beam Melting series production of hip cups.
This paper presents the results of a completely new approach to trigger this awaited breakthrough of additive implant manufacturing. This approach focuses on the integration of completely new features and functions into endoprostheses which give various added value opportunities to implants that where unthinkable before. The paper describes how strategies from tooling applications of Additive Manufacturing were adopted which have proved very successful in giving added value to tools and dies by implementing complex inner cooling channels. The paper describes the innovative inner design features like functional channels and cavities introduced in standard implants, e. g. hip stems. These inner channels and cavities can fulfil various functions within the implant, which will be described in the paper in detail:
- better fixation of cement-free implants through local supply of bio-resorbable filler
- prevention and treatment of implant loosening even years after implantation
- post-operative medical treatment through a medication depot and supply channels inside the implant for better wound healing, ingrowth, pain relief and preventing infections
- post-operative drainage of blood and wound oozing through the implant
- endoscopic examination of implant-bone interface and surrounding tissue through dedicated inspection channels inside the implant
- in case of necessary revision operation easier and quicker explantation with less damage to sound bone structure through local application of soluble