3D printing is revolutionizing the health industry. In the medical devices sector, 3D printing is finding new applications. 3D printing has the potential to replace parts of an organ, a complete organ, or bones. 3D printing is now finding its applications in the healthcare sector for dental devices, knee replacements, etc. One of the latest applications of this technology is for hip replacement.
The Chinese Food and Drug Administration recently declared that the country’s self-developed 3D printed hip replacement for joint is now commercially certified by the necessary state departments and will soon be put to large scale production for clinical use. This 3D printed hip joint was developed by Liu Zhong Jun and Dr. Zhang Ke and Cai Hong of Peking University with cooperation from the firm AK Medical. The printer used to make the hip joint was designed by a Sweden based firm, Arcam AB that used the Electronic Beam Melting (EBM) technique to manufacture the hip joint. This 3D printing method is a more precise method compared to laser sintering and is used by NASA for several of its experiments.
At the moment, the hip joint implant has been approved only by the China’s FDA. However, Liu Zhong Jun projects that soon many more 3D printed medical devices will be approved in the foreseeable future not only in China but also in other countries around the world.
The 3D printed prosthesis are now growing in number due to their benefits. They have become increasingly popular amongst both the patients and doctors. The metal quality used is either titanium or some other high quality metal alloys for producing hip joint replacements, and they are more durable compared to other conventional artificial bone implants. Moreover, the process of 3D scanning a person’s body using X-raying allows more precision and exact measurements for designing the parts that need replacement.