Spinal trial cages 3D printed with X-ray visible PPSU and handle

Alternatives to using titanium for implants and instruments

Metals are widely used in medical fields like neurosurgery. But there are lighter yet strong alternatives to using titanium for implants and instruments.

There is no question that medtech companies have good reasons to use metals such as titanium to manufacture medical products, including implants and instruments. Biocompatibility, mechanical properties and specific weight have values that meet the high demands of the healthcare sector. But is titanium the industry’s last word? Spinal trial cages 3D printed with polymers point to new opportunities.

Looking at the savings that can be achieved through additive manufacturing using Kumovis R1, polymer applications beyond neurosurgery are definitely worth considering

Guntmar Eisen, Diener Implants GmbH

As promising as patient care may be with the help of medical devices made of titanium or its alloys, value-added polymer alternatives are available. We are talking about high-performance materials such as PPSU, PEEK and PEKK. Like titanium, they feature the mechanical properties, biocompatibility and sterilizability required in medical technology.

Benefits of using PPSU instead of titanium for implants and instruments

What is more, 3D printed PPSU has advantages over titanium in medical fields of application, neurosurgery for example. Let’s peek inside some of the benefits derived from the industrial 3D printing of PPSU trials for spinal fusion surgery:

Filament spool loaded with blue PPSU
PPSU filament is available in highest quality for applications like implants and medical-grade quality for short-term applications

When it comes to deciding on a material that is X-ray visible, biocompatible and sterilizable, significant savings can be achieved by using additive manufacturing and polymers like PPSU filled with contrast medium instead of metals like titanium.

Return on investment improved by 20 percent

“It is not just the lower weight and better X-ray properties of PPSU compared to titanium that make us optimistic,” explains medical device manufacturer Guntmar Eisen of Diener Implants. “Looking at the savings that can be achieved through additive manufacturing using Kumovis R1, polymer applications beyond neurosurgery are definitely worth considering.” The return on investment for the trial case outlined above, for example, can be improved by 20 percent. Such benefits may also be transferred to the additive manufacturing of implants, including new functionalization and design possibilities like cellular structures and Kumovis Improved Implant Interface.

Above all, it is important to implement the advantages of additive manufacturing and established high-performance polymers during the design phase. Together we will find the best polymer solution for your medical 3D printing application.

Polymers allow for higher ROI

You want to learn more about the benefits of implants and surgical instruments made with polymers such as PPSU? Feel free to get in touch with our medical 3D printing experts.