Thanks to the innovative 3D printing technology the Maastricht start-up Xilloc Medical has used to create customized implant and won the Shell Livewire Award 2011.
Xilloc Medical B.V. from Maastricht in the Netherlands, is a company manufactures implants that are custom designed for each individual patient using 3D printing technology.
Skull defects repair is a very complex process. Manual forming, sculpting and fixation using standard material for skull defects requires a lot of skills from surgeon. Nevertheless, this long and complex operations often lead to a poor aesthetic result and a number of reconstructive surgery is generally unavoidable to complete the operation. Xilloc Medical was involved in developing a technology using a 3D printer to make patient-specific implants to replace parts of the human skeleton.
The founder of Xilloc Medical, Maikel Beerens, started his thesis project for patient-specific implants in 2006. Together with the Department of Plastic Surgery, Oral Pathology Jaw and Facial Surgery from IDEE, the engineering firm of high-tech medical instruments in Maastricht University, Beerens developed a methodology for designing and manufacturing preoperative patient-specific implants. This was the first time in the world that 3D printing technology is used as the ultimate way to produce patient-specific implants.
* Patient-Specific Implant surgery performed by Prof. Dr. Dr. Kessler
"The basis of designing each individual implant is to make computer tomography scan of the patient," explains Beerens. The fixation of the implant is preprocessed through a unique system where physician specifies such positions. This procedure results in a perfect fit which means the physician no longer has to make the implant fit during implant surgery. "Because the patient-specific implant is tailor-made so it can fit to the patient exactly. This is particularly beneficial to the patient, as aesthetic reconstruction is no longer needed, "said Beerens.
"Because of this method the surgery can be performed faster and fewer operations are required. It saves hospitals and insurers a lot of time and cost. "Implants are made of three different materials, namely titanium and two polymers. Two of these, titanium and one of the two polymers are produced using 3D printing technology.
To fully take advantage of the growing market outside Maastricht University Medical Center, about 1.5 years ago Beerens founded Xilloc Medical B.V as spin-off company from Maastricht Instruments. Through Enterprise Europe Network, the international network of Syntens, Xilloc got contact with more than ten European companies, that they shows interests in a partnership with the promising start-up. Beerens is still in talks with potential partners. "With one of them, an Italian company, we plan to build a 3D printer together."
As a winner in the Shell LiveWIRE Award 2011 Xilloc got a lot of attention within the medical industry. On June 1 a patient's complete lower jaw was successfully replaced by the 3D printed patient-specific implant. This was the first case in the world. The young entrepreneur hopes that in three years about 300 patients in Europe and rest of the world could get such implant in the surgery, and in 5 year the yearly turnover of Xillioc shall reach to 3.5 million euro.
The jury from the Shell Live Wire Award distinguishes Xilloc by a technically superior solution to a social problem. Maxime Verhagen, Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I) in the Netherlands awarded Xilloc the prize for young andi entrepreneurship. "Companies like Xilloc Medical show that entrepreneurs with a technical background are an asset to the Dutch economy," said the minister. "Their ideas do not just build a company, they also find solutions to social challenges such as the rising healthcare costs."
This video is the interview of Maikel Beerens via L1TV. (Sorry, only in Dutch)
LiveWire helps innovative entrepreneurs with the technical development of their business. By offering personal guidance and professional network, LiveWire aims to help young entrepreneurs with bigger success. LiveWire specifically focuses on technically innovative entrepreneurs. Shell LiveWIRE is an international program, and in the Netherlands it was launched in 1997 and is carried out by Syntens, a innovation network for entrepreneurs. The companies participating in LiveWire are all younger than five years. There is no charge for participating in the project LiveWIRE.
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Franck wrote at 2/9/2013 10:54:13 PM:
The story of custom printed implants has begun earlier, at the begining of the century in France with ceramic implants produced by a stereolithography process... more informations at the folowing address : http://3dceram.com/en/category/biomedical/technologie/
Ian Harris wrote at 2/8/2012 11:45:48 PM:
I hate to burst your bubble - but this is not a world first. This type of custom designed & 3D printed titanium implant, was first designed and implanted in Australasia in 2009. Refer AXIA Design Group, New Zealand for details.