In September 2013, TWI embarked on a collaborative project, ImplantDirect, funded by the EC to develop more patient-driven, personalised and effective medical implants, to ultimately improve patients’ quality of life. By allowing surgeons to customise implants for patients using selective laser melting, pain and tissue damage, surgery time and recovery time will all be reduced. The project will result in a pre-production prototype system, validated by pre-clinical trials.
The primary disadvantages of current manufacturing procedures for personalised implants are the time and cost required for the design and the possible need for a surgical robot to perform the bone resection. These disadvantages may be eliminated by additive manufacturingtechnologies, especially the use of selective laser melting to enable quick and economical fabrication of patient specific implant components.
It is estimated that there are approximately 500,000 people admitted to hospital every year across Europe, who have suffered some bone, joint, maxillofacial trauma or degenerative diseases that require surgical attention using a customised implant, while 2.4 million people are injured or disabled each year by road traffic accidents in Europe.