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Implant

3D printing technology has enabled some truly life-changing surgeries in the past year

Though printing items like chocolate and pizza might be satisfying enough for some, 3D printing still holds a lot of unfulfilled potential. Talk abounds of disrupting manufacturing, changing the face of construction and even building metal components in space. While it is hard not to get a little bit excited by these potentially world-changing advances, there is one domain where 3D printing is already having a real-life impact. Its capacity to produce customized implants and medical devices tailored specifically to a patient's anatomy has seen it open up all kinds of possibilities in the field of medicine, with the year 2014 having turned up one world-first surgery after another. Let's cast our eye over some of the significant, life-changing procedures to emerge in the past year made possible by 3D printing technology.  Read More

A diagram illustrating the makeup of the implants

Imagine if there were a remote-control electronic device that could be implanted at an infection site, where it would treat the infection by heating or medicating the affected tissue. While it might be very effective, subsequent infections could result if surgeons went in to remove it, or even if they just left it in place. That's why scientists from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have developed infection-treating implants that simply dissolve into the body once they've served their purpose.  Read More

The prototype implant, with its near-infrared LED

Wouldn't it be great if there were implants that detected the brainwaves associated with conditions such as chronic headaches or epilepsy, and then responded by triggering genes in the patient's body to produce a protein that treated the condition? Well, scientists at the ETH Zurich research institute are on their way to making it happen. They've developed an implant that causes genetically-modified cells to express a specific protein, and the device is indeed activated by brain waves.  Read More

A 3D printed titanium implant has replaced the heel bone of a 71-year-old cancer  (Photo: ...

Slowly but surely, 3D printing is working its way through the human anatomy, replacing infected jaws, cancerous vertebrae and deformed hips in a procession of world-first medical treatments. The latest body part to be ticked off the list is the heel, putting a 71-year-old cancer patient who was facing an amputation below the knee back on his feet.  Read More

The implants and instruments produced by ConforMIS are tailored to each patient's anatomy

In today's installment of "How 3D Printing is Changing Healthcare Forever," a Massachusetts-based medical device company is forging new ground in knee replacement surgery. A combination of CT imaging, modeling software and 3D printing technology is enabling ConforMIS to offer implants tailored specifically to each patient. The development could help avoid complications that often follow the procedure, such as pain arising from instability of the joint.  Read More

Glass slides dipped in blood to demonstrate the effectiveness of the TLP coating. with blo...

Our bodies have evolved to be pretty good at dealing with incursions by foreign objects and bacteria. Usually, that's a positive thing, but it can spell trouble for medical devices, such as replacement joints, cardiac implants and dialysis machines, which increase the risk of blood clots and bacterial infection. Now researchers at Harvard University have developed a surface coating that smooths the way for medical devices to do their job inside the human body.  Read More

For the first time, robotic prostheses controlled via implanted neuromuscular interfaces h...

Robotic prostheses have advanced greatly in the past decade, in terms of both cost and capability. Unfortunately, the standard electrode-over-skin method of control makes many of them unreliable and restricts their functionality, meaning that a number of recipients of these devices commonly reject them as a result. However, a Swedish man has recently celebrated a milestone in robotic prostheses by taking advantage of an osseointegrated (bone-anchored), thought-controlled, implant system in his daily life for more than a year and a half.  Read More

A pulley mechanism developed at OSU may some day be implanted into the hands of people wit...

We've seen a number of robotic prosthetic hands intended for amputees, but what about those that still have their hands but have lost function through nerve damage? Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have tackled the problem and come up with an implant consisting of a simple pulley system that would more effectively transfer mechanical forces and allow more natural grasping function with less effort.  Read More

The implant measures internal optic pressure, excessive amounts of which can lead to loss ...

Currently, people with glaucoma must have their internal optic pressure (the pressure within their eye) regularly checked by a specialist. If that IOP gets too high, then steps need to be taken to lower it, before vision damage can occur. The problem is, the pressure can change quickly, potentially rising to dangerous levels between those checks. A new implant, however, could make it possible for patients to check their own IOP as often as they like, using their smartphone.  Read More

Surgeons used a 3D-printed implant to replace a cancerous vertebra in a 12-year-old boy

According to market-based research firm IDTechEx, the medical and dental market for 3D-printers is set to grow from US$141 million to $868 million by the year 2025. And when you consider the recent spate of groundbreaking medical procedures, it is pretty easy to see why. The latest surgery brought to you by the seemingly endless possibilities of 3D-printing comes at the hands of doctors at China's Peking University Third Hospital, who produced a custom implant to replace a cancerous vertebra in the neck of a 12-year-old boy.  Read More

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