World first for surgery using bespoke 3D-printed cervical titanium implant
For the first time a patient with a degenerative cervical spine problem has been treated with an anatomically adapted 3D-printed titanium fusion implant.
The operation was planned and executed by Uwe Spetzger of the Klinikum Karlsruhe in Germany using an implant designed by Emerging Implant Technologies (EIT), a newly formed company that is dedicated to 3D-printed implant solutions. EIT partnered with 3D Systems in the 3D design and manufacturing process.
An additive manufacturing process enables the trabecular bone structure to be mimicked. EIT’s Cellular Titanium cages provide an optimal biomechanical and biological environment for natural bone ingrowth without the need to add bone graft. Individualisation allows the implants to be fitted exactly to a patient’s individual anatomy, thereby reducing complications such as implant migration, subsidence into the bone or delayed fusion – all of which can be related to insufficient contact between the bone and the implant.
“The future of patient-individualised spinal implants has begun,” said Spetzger, who added that he was fascinated by the possibilities of the new technology combining modern, computer-aided design with custom-made manufacturing of a high-tech cervical implant.