Mar 9, 2016 | By Alec

Though 3D printed titanium implants have been occasionally used in academic hospitals throughout the world already, especially to deal with very unusual complications, it looks like their frequency is set to increase considerably. The FDA has just given clearance to a 3D printed Posterior Lumbar Cage made from Tritanium – a new and highly porous titanium material. Developed by Stryker, it has been designed as an implant for patients suffering from degenerative disc disease, grade I spondylolisthesis, and degenerative scoliosis to help with lumbar spinal fixation.

It’s just the latest 3D printing achievement of the Stryker Corporation. A Fortune 500 medical device and implant giant, they are active in over 100 countries around the world and have been providing orthopedics and related medical equipment directly to doctors, hospitals and other healthcare facilities since 1946. They are experts in orthopedics, neurotechnology and spine treatment, and through those specialisms have found their way to 3D printing. Just earlier this year, they announced the development of a state-of-the-art 3D printing facility in late 2016.

This Tritanium PL Posterior Lumbar Cage gives us some taste of what we can expect from Stryker in the near future. Essentially, it’s an intervertebral body fusion device that aids in lumbar spinal fixation in patients suffering from spinal disc complications. It’s especially interesting for being made out of 3D printed Tritanium, a material that has been specifically designed for accommodating bone in-growth and biologic fixation in the spine. In combination with autografts and/or allogenic bone grafts and supplemental spinal fixation systems for the lumbosacral spine (pedicle screws, rods, or plates), it could greatly improve the effectiveness of spine treatment. They are implanted via a posterior approach.

Importantly, its 3D printed nature means the Tritanium PL Cages can be widely adapted in terms of widths, lengths, heights, and lordotic angles, all depending on a patient’s specific anatomy. The cages feature large lateral windows and as much open architecture as possible, enabling doctors to clearly see progress through CT and X-ray scanning. The cage is also solid tipped and features angled serrations that enable bidirectional fixation and maximize surface area contact.

According to Stryker’s Spine Division President Brad Paddock, this is a revolutionary Stryker product. “This is an exciting time for Stryker,” he said. “We are committed to offering a full range of innovative spinal products that allow surgeons to help their patients return to a more active lifestyle. Our advanced 3D additive manufacturing capabilities allow us to precisely manufacture the porous structures of Tritanium and specific implant geometries. We are pleased to bring this technology to our spine surgeon community and their patients.”

3D printing is an integral part of that new approach. With the 3D printed spinal implant, they are paving the way for what they call a huge lineup of titanium prototypes, on top of the 3D printed knee implants they already have in production. According to the company’s CEO Kevin Lobo, they are also part of a new sales strategy. “[It gives representatives] something that they can go talk to a competitive surgeon about. So, I would say it's not a huge contributor, but it's an extra shot in the arm,” he said. The 3D printed spinal cage is expected to be commercially released in the second quarter of 2016.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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Bruce wrote at 3/10/2016 4:13:03 PM:

I am curious why you didn't use image of the cage? You have a cervical MRI, cervical plate, posterior cervical instrumentation and a total knee. The article is about the lumbar spine and there is no images of the lumbar spine.

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