London-based ADEISS are working with surgeons to develop a range of tools and implants for medical procedures. The advanced medical and dental solutions provider is working on a new concept for 3D printed products that have the potential to change the way in which doctors plan and perform jaw surgery and/or replacements. The researchers are looking to 3D print replicas and reference models for various procedures and anatomic references.
As with most 3D printing of medical tools and implants, the biggest advantage is that of patient-specific care. The program will allow surgeons to look over the specific profile of each patient, create 3D models and personalise implants. Moreover, the models and prints can also allow the surgeons to prep for procedures in advance.
“If you think back ten or twenty years ago, a surgeon would plan a procedure like this almost entirely from X-Ray projection images,” said Dr. David Holdsworth. He’s the scientific director at ADEISS, a local 3D-printing incubator and manufacturer of metal surgical devices. “But now we’re in an era where you could produce a physical 3D model that a surgeon could hold in their hands before the surgery.”
Traditional methods leave a lot for surgeons to desire. For one thing, current/standard versions are very reliant on X-rays. While the technology is fantastic, it is not comprehensive or 3 dimensional. Another problem is in developing implants. Current methods require physicians to bend metal components into a similar shape as a patient’s’ jaw. They literally sit their bending the implant into the correct shape. With 3D printing, the analysis and jaw surgery could be quicker and more accurate both in equipment and preparation.
Aside from simply employing these processes for standard healthcare, ADEISS has also made its way into veterinary surgery. The company developed and implanted skull plates for dogs. They are planning to take this concept global and it’s easy to see the applications. The guides allow surgeons to practice on precisely where and how to cut and screw, while the implants are designed to replicate the original bone structure as closely as possible with CT scans and printing.
The company has so far been using Renishaw AM400 to print metal bone and joint implants. ADEISS developed their initial line with the help of local maxillofacial surgeons, who are helping streamline the process. Since jaws can be so diverse among people, certain operations such as the fibular flap surgery prove difficult to standardise.
“The hope is that it will cut time in surgery. Time in surgery is money, so it helps to make the surgery more cost effective,” Holdsworth said. “But it’s also good for patients, cause you want to spend as short a time in the operating room as you can.”
And after months of development, ADEISS will finally be showcasing their new technologies at Western University in September. Health Canada will take a look in the fall, at which point the products could finally get approval for human use.
Featured image courtesy of Brendan Dixon, retrieved via CBC website.