Concept Laser’s M2 cusing is used to create implants for patients with severe craniomaxillofacial traumas or deformities. They often also have psychosocial consequences: Patients affected not only suffer from functional disorders in that they cannot eat, taste, swallow or speak properly. Craniomaxillofacial surgery is a procedure for correcting such injuries and deformities through distraction and osteosynthesis.
The LaserCUSING process from Concept Laser, whose M2 cusing machine is used at Karl Leibinger Medizintechnik to specifically design the implant according to what the patient require. To manufacture patient-specific implants, Frank Reinauer, Head of Innovation, and Production of Biomaterials of the company, consistently relies on additively manufactured implants.
Distraction osteogenesis and titanium osteosynthesis
Distraction osteogenesis involves the extension of bones. Sometimes a bone “forgets” to grow. The distraction “reminds” the bone to grow again. It is encouraged to fulfill the genetically prescribed “blueprint.” In the pediatric treatment of craniosynostosis, to perform a one-off operation, is to open and distract the ossifying skull so the brain is given space it needs to grow. The second key concept is: titanium osteosynthesis. This involves giving the bone new stability. A high degree of ambition and vision in combination with many years of experience is therefore crucial for developing suitable solutions.
Titanium as the benchmark: implants made to measure
Very quickly it became apparent that laser melting was the method of choice for titanium osteosynthesis. It’s possible to produce large-scale reconstructions with complex geometries. For the surgeon, it is not just about restoring functionality, but also about the aesthetic look. The parts have high strength, and the material is biocompatible. Even those with allergies can receive titanium extremely well. Frank Reinauer: “From numerous aspects we view titanium as providing the benchmark for implant technology.” Additive manufacturing with metal also offers the opportunity to manufacture specific partial surface roughness of the implant so that it can fuse with the bone very quickly at the edges of the implant. Frank Reinauer: “But there is another very important aspect in favor of additively manufactured titanium implants: the patient-specific geometry and precision fit. Ultimately this means a high level of functionality.” The surgeon can use imaging techniques such as CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to cater for the specific anatomy of an individual patient. The engineers from Karl Leibinger Medizintechnik process this data to create STL data which serves as the initial data for 3D construction and manufacturing on a M2 cusing.
With demands growing, the parts are built up on the M2 cusing very promptly, and even large-scale parts can be accommodated in a build envelope of 250 x 250 x 280 mm³ (x, y, z). The M2 cusing is designed in line with ATEX guidelines and thus makes it possible to process reactive materials like titanium or titanium alloys safely. Frank Reinauer: “When it comes to processing reactive materials, Concept Laser has undoubtedly set the benchmark for safety and with a contamination-free concept for manufacturing additive parts.” Like all machine solutions from Concept Laser, it also features physical separation of the process chamber and handling area.