Laser additive manufacturing builds first titanium jaw implant

Leuven, Belgium -  LayerWise NV(  applied laser additivemanufacturing (LAM) to produce an award winning Titanium lower jaw reconstruction. The implant was developed in collaboration with project partners in medical industries and academia. To treat a senior patient's progressive osteomyelitis of almost the entire lower jaw bone, surgeons opted for a complete patient-specific implant the first time ever.

 LAM technology specialists at LayerWise printed the complex implant design incorporating articulated joints and dedicated features. In the LayerWise process, a laser selectively heats metal powder particles, which are quickly and fully melted to properly attach to the previous layer. Layers are built successively to produce almost any complex structure. The final step was a thermally sprayed bioceramic coating.  The reconstruction - post-processed with dental superstructure provisions, polished joint surfaces and a bioceramic coating - has been implanted successfully. It restored the patient's facial esthetics and allowed her to regain her speech within hours.  

 According to Dr. ir. Peter Mercelis, Managing Director of LayerWise, Besides a successful track record in industrial sectors, metal additive manufacturing (AM)is gaining importance in medical implantology. LAM s freedom of shape allows the most complex freeform geometries to be produced as a single part prior to surgery. As illustrated by the lower jaw reconstruction, patient-specific implants can potentially be applied on a much wider scale than transplantation of human bone structures and soft tissues. The use of such implants yield excellent form and function, speeds up surgery and patient recovery, and reduces the risk for medical complications.

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