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Journal cover: Rapid Prototyping Journal

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Online from: 1995

Subject Area: Mechanical & Materials Engineering

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Patient-specific intervertebral disc implants using rapid manufacturing technology

Document Information:
Title:Patient-specific intervertebral disc implants using rapid manufacturing technology
Author(s):Neal de Beer, (Department of Industrial Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa), André van der Merwe, (Department of Industrial Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Citation:Neal de Beer, André van der Merwe, (2013) "Patient-specific intervertebral disc implants using rapid manufacturing technology", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 19 Iss: 2, pp.126 - 139
Keywords:Arthroscopy, Bones, Intervertebral disc, Medical devices, Musculoskeletal system, Patient-specific, Rapid manufacturing, Rapid prototypes, Spinal cord, Spine
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/13552541311302987 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a process chain for design and manufacture of endplates of intervertebral disc implants, with specific emphasis on designing footprint profiles and matching endplate geometry.

Design/methodology/approach – Existing techniques for acquiring patient-specific information from CT scan data was and a user-friendly software solution was developed to facilitate pre-surgical planning and semi-automated design. The steps in the process chain were validated experimentally by manufacturing Ti6Al4?V endplates by means of Direct Metal Laser Sintering to match vertebrae of a cadaver and were tested for accuracy of the implant-to-bone fitment.

Findings – Intervertebral disc endplates were successfully designed and rapid manufactured using a biocompatible material. Accuracy within 0.37?mm was achieved. User-friendly, semi-automated design software offers an opportunity for surgeons to become more easily involved in the design process and speeds up the process to more accurately develop a custom-made implant.

Research limitations/implications – This research is limited to the design and manufacture of the bone-implant contacting interface. Other design features, such as keels which are commonly used for implant fixation as well as the functionality of the implant joint mechanics were not considered as there may be several feasible design alternatives.

Practical implications – This research may change the way that current intervertebral disc implants are designed and manufactured.

Originality/value – Apart from other areas of application (cranial, maxillofacial, hip, knee, foot) and recent research on customized disc nucleus replacement, very little work has been done to develop patient-specific implants for the spine. This research was conducted to contribute and provide much needed progress in this area of application.

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