A new treatment could help save thousands of people from a life of paralysis, among other ailments associated with spinal injury. This treatment involves 3D printed spines being implanted to replace damaged parts of the spine. The FDA has approved the treatment, making it more widely available (thanks, powdered wig masters, for letting people try innovative treatments).
Metal additive manufacturing has hit on a clear niche within the healthcare industry for producing small and complex medical grade implants at scale. Many 3D printing companies working within medicine have a portfolio of devices for the purpose, typically including a sample of 3D printed cages used to support the spine.
However, in what is tipped to be a first in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared a 3D printed cervical device that can be used in a number of injuries/defects from the middle to the top of the spine.
The multilevel cervical cage was made by Emerging Implant Technologies GmbH (EIT) using its trademark Cellular Titanium® technology.
Cellular Titanium devices are 3D printed in a process of selective laser melting (SLM). By precisely programming the laser’s movements, EIT is able to make implants with a core that mimics the cancellous (“spongy”) and cortical (hard) structure of bone.
When implanted in the body, biomimetic lattice-like structure ecourages tissues to grow through the center and graft broken pieces of bone back together.