Girls in STEM

Update: Spotlight School Success

Update: Spotlight School Success

SUCCESS! Since electing Liberty Elementary School as our Spotlight School, we have come to adore the Liberty family more and more each day.  T

News and Insight

Search articles, videos and updates on 3D Printing and its growing presence in our world

Girls in STEM

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

This week, we bring you a short video on a STEM'tastic educator! Scroll down to WATCH this educator doing what she does best - teachi

Videos

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Watching super cool EDUCATIONAL videos from across the web is one of our favorite pastimes! Join us in learning more about 3D printing in the clas

Science and Math

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the season for GINGERBREAD and working the delicious treat into your family - and CLASSROOM - fun. Last week, as students across the

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3d Printed Medical Mesh

By Staff Writter

3d Printed Medical Mesh

Science and Math

3D printers are increasingly being used to manufacture medical devices such as surgical tools, implants and medical mesh.  Medical mesh is a woven sheet used to support organs and other tissues during surgery.  Mesh can be permanent or temporary (dissolves over time).

Cranial mesh implants were historically manufactured from titanium metal using computer-aided design (CAD).  With 3D printing, custom-fit cranial mesh implants can be produced out of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) which is preferable due to cost savings and improved biocompatibility.  3D printing allows surgeons to fabricate highly complex structures that will provide a better fit for the patient's anatomy.  In addition a bioabsorbable polymer can be combined with the custom-made mesh allowing the patient's own bone cells to infiltrate the mesh and grow.  An increase in demand for custom-made implants with additive-bioabsorbable polymers is likely as the capabilities of 3D printing continue to improve.

In August 2013 at Peking University Third Hospital a 3D printed titanium mesh implant was used on a spinal fracture patient.  The 3D mesh implant provided a better fit than a traditional mesh since it was designed specifically for the patient's structure.  The custom mesh reduced pressure on the bone and allowed the bone to grow into the implant.  

As the cycle time of 3D printers improves and the printer cost is reduced it is likely that hospitals will procure their own 3D printers.  This will enable fabrication of surgical mesh at the hospital to the specific needs of the patient.