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Implants made with a 3D printer


Medicine is placing high expectations on implants and auxiliary materials that are manufactured specifically for each individual patient. Nearly any complex shape can be produced by means of additive manufacturing (3D printing). Before starting to use such implants widely, the medical sector and certification bodies demand proof of the fact that their high quality is matched and will remain stable over time. Within the scope of a European project, MetAMMI, PTB has provided the basis for the quality control of medical implants.

Dental drilling guide produced by additive manufacturing for the drilling of holes to fit dental implants into artificial jaw models with only few abutment teeth. The drilling angle α and the drilling depth were measured by means of computed tomography.

To find out how reliable medical implants and auxiliary materials from a 3D printer really are, specimens (implants, medical guides and regular-geometry objects) made of various materials and using various procedures were produced and thoroughly examined. One of the tests consisted in investigating a dental drilling guide produced by additive manufacturing for the drilling of holes to fit dental implants. Such guides are used in such surgical interventions to prevent adjacent dental roots or nervous tissue from being damaged. In cooperation with a dental surgery, medical physicists and dental technicians, several dental drilling guides produced by additive manufacturing were used to drill holes for implants into lifelike artificial jaw models. Subsequently, the drilling depth and the drilling angle were determined by means of industrial computed tomography. The results have shown that the drilling depth differed by less than 2 mm, and the drilling angles by less than 6°. If the deviations are kept that small, no physical damage to the patient is to be expected.