Jaw surgery often includes bone augmentation via implants. A common method to gain bone tissue is to transplant it from the patient’s femur – a process which is associate with an increased infection rate, a prolonged healing process and additional stress for the patient.
Additive manufacturing technologies offer the possibility to create biocompatible, resorbable implants. The Austrian research company PROFACTOR is leading the new research project INKplant, together with six partners, including LBI Trauma, to test these novel manufactured implants. The project is funded by the FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency) with 1.8 million €. The aim is to develop patient-specific implants with suitable mechanical stability and surface properties to accelerate tissue regeneration.
A hybrid, additive manufacturing process forms the basis of the project. The implants are characterized by a "hard phase" made of ceramic, which ensures stable anchoring, and a "soft phase" made of absorbable synthetic materials, which is essential for bone healing. The geometry of the prototypes is to be derived automatically from medical imaging data and the optimal internal structure of the implant is to be calculated through modeling and simulation.
An EU research proposal to expand the activities to other clinical applications received a positive evaluation. The EU project with 19 partners is expected to start in January 2021.