10 key developments in 3D printing for spine, orthopedics in 2019

Surface Technology

Various spine and orthopedic device companies have been experimenting with 3D printing. Here are 10 key developments in 3D printing so far this year.

In January, New York City-based Hospital for Special Surgery and LimaCorporate launched a project to develop the first provider-based additive manufacturing 3D printing facility for custom orthopedic implants.

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Institute of Engineering used 3D technology to print spinal cords by implanting scaffolding, which is loaded with neural stem cells, into rats with severe spinal cord injuries.

MTS Systems Corporation, a global supplier of high-performance test systems, motion simulators and sensors, used MTS material test systems to develop 3D-printed, porous titanium spinal implants.

Brian Gantwerker, MD, gave his opinion on future developments of 3D printing in spine: "Where it can and should shine is potentially having a 3D printer intraoperatively that can construct a custom cage based on intraoperative CT scans or imaging."

Mayo Clinic researchers shared findings on 3D printed spine models. They found cadavers are still considered the "gold-standard" for training with simulators, despite the high cost, regulation and maintenance, although developments in 3D printing could change that.

RTI Surgical enrolled the first patient in a clinical evaluation of its Fortilink Interbody Fusion 3D-printed implants for degenerative disc disease treatment

Medical device manufacturer, Nexxt Spine, expanded its metal 3D printing capacity with two additional machines from GE Additive. They are the company's fourth and fifth AM acquisitions in under two years following its initial investment in 2017 to support the design and development of its flagship spinal fusion implants.

Brian Gill, MD, delivered his opinion on 3D printing in spine: "3D printed materials may allow bone ongrowth as well as ingrowth, achieving a higher fusion rate or even a more rapid fusion."

American filament manufacturing company, 3D Printlife, plans to launch two new 3D printing materials — FibreTuff PAPC Bone Replacement Filament and PEEK — at the RAPID industry show in Detroit.

CoreLink Surgical launched its Lateral Access System and two implant systems — the F3D and CL5 Lateral interbody fusion devices — designed for lateral fusions.

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