July 3, 2015 | By Simon

As we continue to see how additive manufacturing is revolutionizing the medical industry, we’re unsurprisingly also starting to see a lot more companies popping up on the marketplace aimed at bridging medical expertise with engineering and additive manufacturing know-how.

Among other companies that have been actively developing 3D printed solutions for patients include ConforMIS, Inc..  The company’s iFit Image-to-Implant technology platform allows for surgeons to use preoperative CT scan to create 3D printed joint replacement implants that are customized to fit the needs of each patient.  

The company’s iFit system creates customized 3D models of replacements joints based off of standard CT scan  data.  Additionally, the software is capable of generating 3D printable cutting blocks that are sized specifically for a patient’s bone to aid doctors in cutting away damaged areas without removing too much material.  Once a 3D model has been automated by their system, a replacement joint is created using a selective laser sintering process.    

Due to the anatomical differences from one person to the next, the use of customized joint replacements omits the need to remove a patient’s bone cavity in order to create an exact fit with existing mass produced systems.  Additionally, the custom systems have a much quicker recovery time.    

The company has been perfecting their technology over the past few years as a private company but went public this week after offering 9,000,000 shares at $15.00 per share.  After a single day on the NASDAQ, the company raised over $135 million and is currently trading 28% above the IPO price.   

With the injection of funds, the company will continue to expand upon their revolutionary systems and will likely see an increased focus on R&D and sales channels as more hospitals and independent health practitioners warm up to using additive manufacturing-based systems in their procedures.  Currently, ConforMIS owns or licenses approximately 470 patents and pending patent applications for all major joints using their technology, which includes a hip replacement system that’s currently seeking US Food and Drug Administration approval.

While it’s still too early to tell, the decision to go public will likely help launch ConforMIS as a leader in revolutionary technologies for joint replacement products and procedures; knee replacement surgeries alone account for over a half-million of the total joint replacement surgeries in the US each year.  As a flood of aging baby boomers enter old age combined with the high levels of obesity, these numbers are expected to rise to over three million within the next 15 years.

 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

 

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