26. November 2020

PROFACTOR: Implants from the 3D-Printer for Bone Augmentation

Jaw implants often necessitate bone augmentation. The operations necessary in complicated cases can cause patients a huge degree of additional stress. In future, the 3D printer will provide a stress-free alternative.

For augmentation of the jawbone in complex cases, fragments of bone are taken from other areas, such as the thigh, and grafted onto the jaw. Procedures such as this can be enormously stressful, particularly for people in poor health, since the healing process can be lengthy.

Organically compatible, absorbable implants created using additive manufacturing technologies are a stress-free alternative. The Steyr-based research company PROFACTOR is heading a project with a total of six partners to test this approach in the laboratory. The tests should result in development of a patient-specific implant made of several materials and with the mechanical stability and surface characteristics required to speed up tissue regeneration.

Following the operation, the appropriate cells are attached to the implant so that it is turned into material that is part of the body. Hard inside, soft outside – using the hybrid additive manufacturing process a “hard stage” made of ceramic ensures that the implant is firmly rooted in the jawbone, while the “soft stage” promotes good bone healing and tissue regeneration. In the process, the 3D ceramic part is covered by absorbable synthetic materials. The geometry and structure of the implant are simulated using medical imaging data and automatically modelled for manufacture.

(c) iStock