3D printed titanium implants.
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
3D printing in medicine has changed the paradigm of modern implant design. Using a combination of advanced imaging and digital fabrication, orthopaedic implants such as prosthetic hip replacements are able to be matched to individual patient’s anatomy and other complex requirements. This emerging technology gives surgeons and engineers a broad scope to explore implant designs that address the long-standing issue of stress shielding by using scaffold materials that encourage bone ingrowth and remodelling. However, the factors that influence how porous 3D printed titanium implants interact with bone need to be further understood to ensure that patients are offered safe and effective treatments.
This research develops porous 3D printed materials using electron beam melted titanium intended for use in orthopaedic implants, from concept through to demonstration of efficacy in vivo. The clinical, regulatory and commercial requirements of porous 3D printed titanium implants were explored, along with considerations for design for additive manufacturing. Materials with both traditional and contemporary scaffold topologies were developed to isolate the effect of the porous design from other factors such as overall porosity or pore size. A translational pre-clinical model was established and the biological performance of the materials was determined in vivo.
Overall, the results and findings from this research further our understanding of how scaffold topology affects the osseointegration of 3D printed titanium implants and advanced our knowledge of how to best apply these materials in clinical practice. Furthermore, this work has directly contributed to the commercial adoption of industrial 3D printing technology and resulted in wide-spread clinical application of the specific materials developed herein.