MT Ortho deploys GE Additive EBM 3D printing technology for customised prostheses

Italian company MT Ortho is using GE Additive’s Arcam Electron Beam Melting (EBM) technology to produce customised prostheses for cranioplasty and bone cancer patients.

The company installed two EBM 3D printing systems in 2014 and is using the technology in conjunction with CT imaging to produce implants tailored for patients which are required when bone geometry is not within the dimensional range of standard implants or when a bespoke part will drive better clinical results. MT Ortho says the deployment of additive manufacturing to produce prosthetics makes the process easier and more precise, while also enhancing osseointegration.

A close collaboration between surgeon and MT Ortho engineers sees a CT scan of the specific anatomical characteristics of the patient carried out, a conference call held to identify access routes and then the characteristics of the fixing systems be determined with consideration given to the resistance of the material being used. The prosthesis is designed and reviewed by the surgeon, before being printed, along with a backup part, and post-processes with washing and final sterilisation.

Using this process, MT Ortho has developed a new line of customised cranioplasty prostheses which are now in use throughout Europe and also created solutions for orthopaedic surgery, Oncological orthopaedics, neurosurgery and maxillofacial surgery. In bone cancer treatment, the design freedom enabled by additive manufacturing allows for the development of customised prostheses that consider deformation and the need to adequately distribute loads, while also perfectly reconstructing bone anatomy after demolition surgery is carried out to remove tumours based on the CT imagery.

MT Ortho has been using additive manufacturing now for than five years. It was brought in to expand the capabilities of the company around the same time Simone Di Bella was employed as a graduate engineer, who had specialised in additive manufacturing.

“Our goal was to become not only a distributor, but also a manufacture of medical devices,” commented Di Bella. “And our vision was to achieve this by creating new, innovative devices with unique features that were only possible by using additive manufacturing and were more compatible with the human bone than metals on the market at the time.”

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