German company implants first 3D-printed titanium fusion implant |

German company implants first 3D-printed titanium fusion implant


ALL 3D-Printing articles 

A patient in Germany with a degenerative cervical spine has received the world’s first 3D printed titanium fusion implant.

EIT Emerging Implant Technologies GmbH (EIT), made that claim in May 19, 2015.

Uwe Spetzger, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery of the Klinikum Karlsruhe in Germany planned and performed the operation. Spetzger is the current president of the annual meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery.

EIT is a newly formed company that designed the implant along with its partner, 3D Systems.

“Additive” Manufacturing Process

The company says the “additive” manufacturing process allows the device to “mimic” highly porous trabecular bone structures. “EIT cellular titanium with micro-, macro- and nanostructural features provides high stability and speeds up the bone healing and fusion process. It provides an optimal biomechanical and biological environment for natural bone ingrowth without the need to add bone graft. The individualization adds the perfect match and exact fit to the patient’s individual anatomy.”

Spetzger said, “The future of patient individualized spinal implants has begun by combining modern computer-aided design and custome-made manufacturing.”

Company CEO Stephanie Eisen said individualized series implants at a reasonable price will available in 2-3 years. “Individualization will deliver better implants, faster and easier surgery and better patient outcome. The reoperation rates in spine surgery are by far higher than for example with hip or knee implants. It is our mission to change this.”

The company claims to be the first orthopedic device maker to exclusively focus on implants designed and produced with “additive” manufacturing methods. Such methods allow creation of 3-dimensional complex structures and geometries that cannot be manufactured with traditional machining, says the company. “The method is cost-effective and allows a design-driven manufacturing process of smaller batch sizes—almost without limitations. This is ideal for highly specialized spinal implants.”

The company expects to offer a complete spinal fusion cage portfolio in the near future. It also plans to develop patient specific implants for the treatment of complex spinal disorders.