An un-named man in the United States just received a 3D printed skull implant for skull reconstruction surgery that took place on March 4th. Oxford Performance Materials of Connecticut (OPM) made the new implant, which was the first of its kind.

OPM calls their revolutionary new product “OsteoFab”, and it recently made history after the FDA gave approval for its use as a bone replacement implant for a man’s skull.  The implant is made porous enough so that bone and red blood cells will attach and eventually form a new and perfectly formed skull. 

The company says the approval for the implant came by way of the Food and Drug Administration on February 18th and it was ready for surgery by March 4th. It marked the first time such an extensive surgery was performed with a 3D printer and composed as much as 75% of the patients new skull.

Presently OPM is selling other 3D-printed implants to hospitals overseas but had to get permission from the FDA before they could begin actually using the implants on patients. 

Scott DeFelice, who serves as president of OPM says that in the very near future there will not be a single part of the orthopedic industry that will remain untouched by 3D printing. 

OPM sees their OsteoFab™ Patient Specific Cranial Device to go well beyond just skull reconstruction but also for other parts of the body as well. OPM just recently began submitting other custom 3D-printed bone parts for future FDA approval, which would account for a very large worldwide market. 

It is our firm belief that the combination of PEKK and additive manufacturing is a highly transformative and disruptive technology platform that will substantially impact all sectors of the orthopedic industry,” DeFelice said. “… we will now move systematically throughout the body in an effort to deliver improved outcomes at lower overall cost to the patient and healthcare provider.”

DeFelice says the new technology is highly profitable and could generate as much as 100 million dollars per year for each type of bone replacement part.  In an interview with TechNewsDaily DeFelice said, "If you can replace a bony void in someone's head next to the brain, you have a pretty good platform for filling bony voids elsewhere.”

Image source: Oxford Performance Materials