Developing the next generation of patient-specific implants at the point of care…
The Swiss MAM Research Group is highly motivated to develop and manufacture the next generation of implants for the repair of bone and cartilage diseases at the point of care. The benefit of using additive manufacturing in combination with computer-assisted surgical planning is the possibility to efficiently produce highly customized, biomechanically stable implants and to reduce operative time, errors and post-operative complications.
We are an interdisciplinary team and are actively involved in the research and development of methods to efficiently design and produce safe implants for patients who cannot be effectively treated using standard approaches. We profit immensely due to the ability to rapidly communicate with the operating surgeons in the hospital to obtain important design inputs. The in-house or regional production of the implants allows us to react fast. As a result, this also reduces complications tied to logistics. To optimize the process, the group works together closely with national and international partners from clinical centres, research institutions, academia and the industry.
Which implants do we cover?
Implants vary according to their requirements and take form in various shapes and sizes. Among which our research group particularly focuses on:
Patient-specific bone plates: These plates are used for the fixation (osteosynthesis) or the covering of bone defects (PEEK Implants) and fractures. Plates are also used to stabilize the bone after the surgical removal of malignant bone or the cutting of bone to promote realignment (osteotomy). Bone plates usually match the contour of the patient’s bone and are solid on the inside and provide rigidity where it is needed. To improve the stability of these bone plates to withstand biomechanical forces, we use computational modelling tools such as Finite Element Analysis and the evaluation in biomechanical tests.
Patient-specific bone and cartilage scaffolds: We additively manufacture scaffolds that are for use in bone and cartilage regeneration. A scaffold is a lattice-shaped 3D matrix that is used to replace or promote bone (re-)growth and the substitution and regeneration of cartilage. These three-dimensional matrices are composed of natural polymers like ubiquitous collagen or alginate and can be supplemented with cytokines, growth factors, patient progenitor and mesenchymal stem cells. The layer-by-layer fabrication approach of the scaffolds is called bioprinting. More on this topic can be read here.
Materials we use for scaffolds:
- Bioresorbable polymer/ceramic composites (PCL/HA)
- Silk or alginate with collagen and PCL layering
- PCL and biocompatible hydrogel