3D Systems technology enables 3D printing of personalized skull implants

3D Systems announced the creation of a patient-specific 3D printed skull implant, which was successfully implanted during surgery at the University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland. The first recipient of this cranial implant was a 46-year-old patient who developed complications after a stroke in 2019.

When the patient came under the care of prof. Raphael Guzman, suffered from serious ailments such as blurred vision and headaches. Using state-of-the-art computed tomography (CT), a precise image of the patient’s skull was created, which was then used to model a tailor-made implant. It was then manufactured in the hospital’s 3D printing laboratory using an EXT 220 MED 3D printer from 3D Systems.

3D extrusion printing technology developed by 3D Systems allows for the easy-to-use production of durable, biocompatible implants using polyetheretherketone (PEEK) material. Additionally, the technology enables the production of patient-specific geometries in the hospital itself, providing enormous benefits to both surgeons and patients. Another example of the use of the company’s technology is the University Hospital of Salzburg, which printed an individually adapted cranial implant for a 55-year-old man.

Given the availability of advanced technologies, the use of 3D printed cranial implants is expected to increase in the coming years. A report by Acumen Research and Consulting predicts that the cranial implant market will grow to $2.1 billion by 2030. There is no doubt that advances in materials and production methods, such as 3D printing, will enable new solutions that will accelerate the development of this market segment.


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