Thanks to FDA approval of the process just last February 18th, Oxford Performance Materials replaced 75% of a patient’s skull using a 3D printed replica as an implant.
They were able to take a digital scan of the patient’s skull and turn it into a 3D plastic part. This plastic was printed so that the edges had very high porous detail, allowing for the bones to grow into and fuse to the plastic. This allows for lower chance of rejection and an overall stronger new skull than traditional implants.
The plastic is a high performance medical grade polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) developed by Oxford Performance Materials for the EOS P800, a plastic selective laser sintering (SLS) machine. Selective laser sintering fuses layers of thermoplastics together using an extremely precise laser.
Immediately, the company envisions that 300 to 500 patients could use this implant every month in the United States alone.
But don’t just stop at skulls. OPM’s president, Scott DeFelice says, “If you can replace a bony void in someone’s head next to the brain, you have a pretty good platform for filling bony voids elsewhere.”
The company is submitting for FDA approval of bone implants for many other parts of the body. Each individual bone, including the skull, could be between a 50 and 100 million dollar market.