A five-year project underway in Australia seeks to tailor implants for bone cancer patients by combining advanced manufacturing, robotic surgery and 3D printing technologies.
“Our aim is to bring the technology to the theatre,” said Milan Brandt, lead researcher and professor at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). “While patients are having their cancer removed in the operating theatre, in the next room, we are custom printing an implant to precisely fill the space left after removal of the diseased bone.”
“By combining specialized imaging techniques, 3D printing and the accuracy of robotic assisted surgery, we are aiming to deliver a personalized implant in time for the surgeon to remove the cancer and repair the patient’s bone in the one operation,” explains St Vincent’s Hospital’s Professor Peter Choong.
The initiative represents a major shift in the way implants are designed, manufactured and supplied and could lead to bespoke local manufacturing. The research will also help train a new generation of engineers and researchers in medical robotics and the additive manufacturing of medical implants, and encourage adoption of additive manufacturing by other industrial sectors.
Researchers from University of Technology Sydney and global medical technology company Stryker are also involved in the project.