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Print a Body Part in 3D--cutting edge medicine in South Windsor, CT

Thursday, October 03, 2013

I asked my shoulder orthopedist about printing body parts in 3D.

He said, "How do you know about that? " I answered that I have a medical gadgets link on my facebook page. I said so---"Can you print me a new shoulder? Mine is bone on bone and mis-shappen and the only thing to permanently fix it is a shoulder replacement."

He said that a Connecticut company is working on it. !!!! emoticon He has taken a tour through their facility. Wow! I live just across the river from South Windsor. I would LOVE to tour that factory-lab.!!!! emoticon

Here is the link: www.tedxspringfield.com/

It is much nicer to read there than in my blog. emoticon

Future in 3-D

PHOTO | PABLO ROBLES Scott DeFelice, president of Oxford Performance Materials in South Windsor, examines some of his firm’s 3-D printing work building skull implants for surgery.
PHOTO | PABLO ROBLES Scott DeFelice, president of Oxford Performance Materials in South Windsor, examines some of his firm’s 3-D printing work building skull implants for surgery.
A South Windsor company with a new $750 million federal contract in its pocket for high-tech aerospace parts sees a new day dawning in manufacturing, led by 3-D printing technology.
That’s why Oxford Performance Materials is pushing ahead with a new division that uses 3-D printing technology to replicate parts of the human skull, creating game-changing possibilities for surgeons, new hope for patients and a vast new market for the company.
The polymer skull implant designer and manufacturer has carved out serious space in the multibillion-dollar biomedical industry by targeting hospitals that treat patients with cancerous bone in their skulls, as well as U.S. military members suffering from head trauma and car accident victims.
The company uses digital data derived from CT scans and MRIs to build an implant layer by layer, instead of the more traditional manufacturing method that relies on machines to alter material until a final shape is achieved.
The company says about 300 to 500 U.S. patients could use skull bone replacements every month.
Manufacturing skulls from CT and MRI scans are nothing new. Scott DeFelice, the company’s president, said the difference with the 3-D print method is that implants cost less and can be specially customized. If the implant doesn’t work out, parts can be replaced.
DeFelice declined to talk about financials and didn’t disclose how much Oxford Performance Materials makes from each implant. He said prices can range from $10,000 to $25,000 per implant.
The company’s skull implant, known as the OsteoFab Patient Specific Cranial Device, is a safer, more economical choice in the long run, he said.
“The OsteoFab implant is comparable in price to other solutions that are made of titanium mesh or machine-shaped plastic,” said DeFelice. “The cost benefit is in the installation.”
Unlike 3-D printed implants, which are sculpted to fit precisely in the skull gap, traditional implants are not designed to an exact fit. That means surgeons have to trim the implant or cut above the bone, all while the skull is still open, according to DeFelice.
“In terms of cost, it’s about $65 per minute to have a skull open during the surgical procedure, which accounts for things like having the anesthesiologist on standby. Also, the longer the skull is open, the greater risk for infection and other complication.”
Earlier this year, a U.S. patient had 75 percent of his skull replaced by a 3-D printed implant that Oxford Performance Materials designed and manufactured. The replacement took five days to fabricate.
It was the first time a polymer skull implant created from a 3-D printer was used in surgery in the U.S., said DeFelice.
The implant is made of PEKK, a “high-performance thermoplastic technology” that is sturdy, lightweight and resistant to heat and chemicals.
The company is exploring 3-D print bone implants for other parts of the body, and is preparing to submit other 3-D printed bone parts for FDA approval — a huge market worth up to $100 million for each bone replacement type.
DeFelice wants to take his skull implant to the next level.
“We can 3-D print customized prosthetics for everything from our hands to our ears,” said DeFelice.
DeFelice started Oxford Performance Materials as a materials company in 2000. Using the same 3-D printing technology and polymer materials, the company’s industrial division develops parts for aerospace structures and near-earth orbit space craft, as well as parts for defense applications.
Oxford Performance Materials will provide aerospace parts to support Northrop Grumman’s Joint Strike Fighter production.
Oxford is also one of many companies and universities connected to the U.S. National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio.
The $30 million pilot institute pairs industry, university and community colleges with federal agencies designed to transform 3-D printing into a serious manufacturing tool. Funding comes from the defense, energy and commerce departments, as well as NASA and the National Science Foundation.
“This is a significant deal for us because we plan to grow rapidly and hire many people,” said DeFelice.
“For Connecticut, it’s significant because our company is now on the forefront of biomedical and aerospace additive manufacturing,” said DeFelice.
Oxford Performance Materials was one of the first companies in the state to receive funds from the new Small Business Express Program, which is providing $100 million to leverage funding for small businesses in Connecticut with fewer than 50 employees.
In 2012, the company received a $200,000 loan for five years as well as a $100,000 grant in return for doubling its workforce and moving forward on plans for a $1.8 million expansion.
DeFelice credits that funding for helping him to grow the company successfully.
In 2011, the company received $1.2 million from Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-public authority on technology investing and development. That money enabled Oxford Performance Materials to purchase its high-tech printers and laser sintering machine to manufacture medical implants.
Currently the company employs 12 people and occupies a 16,000-square-foot facility. DeFelice said he plans to double the workforce and add another 12,000 square feet of space.
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