GE Additive metal 3D printing technology improves joint replacement surgery

German medical devices company endocon GmbH incorporates additive manufacturing to address hip cup extraction and improves product reliability, cost savings and the patient and clinician experience in the process

Hip and knee replacements are on the rise – yet another sign of our ageing population. Every year, hundreds of thousands of operations take place without a hitch and thanks to surgical and technical advances the implant of a hip cup is a relatively straightforward procedure.

However, the removal of a hip cup – in the event of loosening, abrasion or infection – presents a more complex task for surgeons with very few devices at their disposal. The removal process often involves the use of a chisel, which risks damaging bone and tissue and can leave an uneven surface, making the reinsertion a new implant difficult.

Endocon, a medical device company near Heidelberg, Germany has addressed the removal technique and has created an acetabular cut cutter. This smart, innovative device features additively manufactured blades, which reduces time in surgery and addresses both patient safety and experience.

Additive Impact
With minimal changes to the original casting model, the blades used in the endoCupcut are now additively manufactured in 17-4 PH stainless steel on a Concept Laser Mlab cusing 100R machine. The final finished blades, including post-processing, are now available in just three weeks.

“We’ve also been able to reduce the cost per blade by around forty to forty-five percent. That means cost savings for us and in turn for our customers. When you combine that with a reduction in product development time, higher efficiency and lower rejection rates, then the business case for additive really becomes attractive,” said Klaus Notarbartolo, general manager at Endocon.

A local service bureau, Weber-KP, a metal additive manufacturing specialist, manages all stages of the process for endocon. The Weber-KP team handles data preparation, orientation on the build platform, the build itself through to high-quality surface finishing, hardening and bead blasting.

Source: ge.com/additive

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