Friday, March 8, 2013

Yup, We're Printing Body Parts Now

Posted By on Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 5:39 PM

osteofab-cranial-device.jpg
  • Courtesy of Discover Magazine

A unidentified American man received a 3-D printed implant this week, replacing 75 percent of his skull and making him the second person ever to undergo this type of procedure after a woman was implanted with a titanium jaw last year.

Once the Food and Drug Administration ok’d the technology, produced by Connecticut company Oxford Performance Materials, the man underwent a head scan so the implant could be molded to fit the exact dimensions of his skull.

Proponents of 3-D printing technology claim we’re on a cusp of a revolution thanks to the machines, especially in the health industry, as utilizing it can “shorten surgery time, be less risky and cost less,” reported the Los Angeles Times:

With 3-D printers, users can produce objects with a molding machine based on computer digital models.

The 3-D printing technology is ideal for implants custom-shaped to each patient's anatomy, the company said.

OPM President and Chief Executive Scott Defelice said 3-D printing allows any type of bone to be replaced with an implant.

"We believe our technology is highly disruptive, and it'll widely affect the orthopedic industry," he said.

The type of implant, which is formally known as the OsteoFab Patient Specific Cranial Device, is made out of PEKK, an ultra-high-performance polymer, according to the company's website.

You can expect more companies to start rolling out similar implants: Oxford Performance Materials anticipated that “as many as 500 people per month” in the United States could be on-track to receive new spare parts.

In other words, we’re that much closer to going Full Bionic, so you’re welcome for that insomnia-inducing tidbit.

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