Layerwise Builds the World’s First Patient‐Specific Lower Jaw Using Laser Technology
Todd Grimm posted on February 05, 2012 |
LayerWise lower jaw impant

LayerWise, a service organization focused on metal-based 3D printing processes, applied additive manufacturing (AM) to produce a titanium total-lower-jaw implant. The revolutionary, patient‐specific implant was developed and produced under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Jules Poukens, in collaboration with industrial and academic parties in Belgium and The Netherlands.

This innovation was granted the “2012 AM‐Award” by the Additive Manufacturing Network in Belgium.

Prof. Dr. Jules Poukens, of the University Hasselt, said, “The new treatment method is a world premiere because it concerns the first patient‐specific implant in replacement of the entire lower jaw. The implant integrates multiple functions, including dimples increasing the surface area, cavities promoting muscle attachment and sleeves to lead mandible nerves.”

Pouken continued, “I led the team of surgeons who implanted the AM‐produced structure during a surgery of less than four hours at the Orbis Medisch Centrum in Sittard‐Geleen. Shortly after waking up from the anesthetics, the patient spoke a few words, and the day after, the patient was able to speak and swallow normally again.”

Dr. ir. Peter Mercelis, managing director of LayerWise, said, “Besides a successful track record in industrial sectors, metal AM is gaining importance in medical implantology. AM’s freedom of shape allows the most complex, freeform geometries to be produced as a single part prior to surgery. The use of such implants yields excellent form and function, speeds up surgery and patient recovery, and reduces the risk for medical complications.”

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