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Medicine Biotech United Kingdom

3-D Printed Pelvis Holding Up After 3 Years 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-i-feel-free-to-risk-my-pelvis-without-consequence dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Here's a neat story out of Britain, with good news about long-term success for the patient involved, and for others who might benefit from similar procedures: three years ago, surgeon Craig Gerrand successfully printed and implanted an artificial pelvis (actually, about half of one) into a patient suffering from a rare form of cancer. Other techniques were ruled out, because the patient would be losing so much bone. So, after careful scanning, additive printing with titanium was used to create the replacement: 'In order to create the 3-D printed pelvis, the surgeons took scans of the man's pelvis to take exact measurements of how much 3-D printed bone needed to be produced and passed it along to Stanmore Implants. The company used the scans to create a titanium 3-D replacement, by fusing layers of titanium together and then coating it with a mineral that would allow the remaining bone cells to attach.' Now, three years after the procedure, the printed pelvis is holding up just fine, and the patient is able to walk with a cane."
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3-D Printed Pelvis Holding Up After 3 Years

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  • by HuguesT (84078) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @02:37AM (#46283365)

    There is not much difference with respect to physical properties between printed and sintered metal or ceramics. Sintering is a very well established fabrication process combining endurance, flexibility in design and low weight. However, laser-powered, layered construction a.k.a printing allows for even greater flexibility and most importantly one-off fabrication. This is ideally suited to medical applications like this one. However do not expect to be able to do this at home anytime soon.

    • by ubergeek2009 (1475007) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @03:49AM (#46283687)

      Selective Laser Sintering metal printing although much stronger than typical Fused Deposition Modeling is nowhere near as strong or tough as cast and treated metal components. It has it's place and this is one, but SLS is not great everywhere.

      • good enough to make bicycle frames out of and be lighter than the equivalent tube solution? [gazetteseries.co.uk]

        I consider bicycles to be a pretty demanding application stress wise...

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Looks to me like very little of that bike was 3D printed. It looks as thought the only part that was 3D printed was a small part that connects the seat post to the rest of the frame, and even that parts looks like it could be produced using traditional methods.
        • This is purely anecdotal, but the two indie framemakers I know who have worked with 3d printed lugs have both said the lugs broke very quickly and they only used them for prototypes, didn't consider them safe to ride. One said he thought he could make a 3d printed lug (this was stainless steel, through shapeways, silver-soldered to Reynolds SS tubing) that would be durable but he guessed it would weigh about 4x as much as equivalent forged columbus lugs.

          • shapeways uses some other weird technique for their metal printing. Their website says that metal grains are deposited with a void filler, and comes out with the structure of wet sand, and then the whole thing is moved to a special oven and heated to fuse it. They say that if what you are making can't be sculpted from wet sand, then they won't be able to print it. Somehow, this seems like a far cry from laser sintering.
      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        Selective Laser Sintering metal printing although much stronger than typical Fused Deposition Modeling is nowhere near as strong or tough as cast and treated metal components. It has it's place and this is one, but SLS is not great everywhere.

        Of course, in this application, it only needs be be as strong as the bone it is replacing.

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @02:46AM (#46283401)

    ...is getting some hip new applications.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Okay, everyone. Put down your pitchforks.

  • by diakka (2281) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @02:58AM (#46283449)

    Personally, I would have opted for adamantium.

    • by gmclapp (2834681)
      DF reference (+1)
    • by richpoore (925284)
      Don't be so dense.
  • by Sulphur (1548251) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @03:03AM (#46283463)

    Ex-cell-ent. Can he still get an MRI with his implant?

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Yes, Titanium is not a ferrous material.

      • It doesn't need to be ferrous, just conductive to prevent an MRI. However that doesn't mean that he can't get an MRI. Printed composites are not terribly conductive, so that may make it possible, but I cannot know for sure without looking at the literature/testing.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Printed composites are not terribly conductive

          Please do let us know how the conductivity of titanium is affected when it is sintered.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        Yes, Titanium is not a ferrous material.

        I have a titanium plate in my neck and while it is not impacted by an MRI (ie not ripped out), the MRI is impacted by it. Images in that area are pretty much worthless

  • Look at this: New 3D Printer by MarkForged Can Print With Carbon Fiber [popularmechanics.com] Definitely more companies are going to develop products like these...

    Imagine the possibilities it opens for elder and disabled people care. And with the current ageing of the population in developed countries, this will certainly be a huge industry.

  • Came in for a story on a 3D printed penis, left disappointed.

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