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Automatic procedure to manufacture individual custom made implants

Deliverables

The main result of the project is the development of an automatic procedure to manufacture custom made devices and prosthesis in the field of dental and maxillo-facial surgery. The numerical analysis can be described focusing on the casting and on biomechanical analysis of the devices, based on virtual and solid modelling for geometrical definition. A precise model of the device can be designed with the aid of the integrated process developed. In order to create the tri-dimensional geometrical model a CT scan series is acquired. This series is then processed with graphical tools in order to obtain the geometrical model. This virtual model is also of great interest in surgical planning and could be of a great help for the optimisation of the surgical procedures and of the prosthesis itself. This model is subjected to a careful numerical investigation, in order to forecast its behaviour during the manufacturing chain, in relation with its implantation in a patient and thus, in relation with its interaction with the biological tissues. These kind of numerical simulations let to forecast the outcome of the medical device from the biomechanical point of view. This method is necessary in the process of optimisation because can be considered a lot of variables that can express biological quantity or technological quantity pertaining to the behaviour of the material (titanium). In order to satisfy medical requirements, a great importance is given to the global quality system. For this reason many numerical simulations are performed during all the projects activities, i.e. in order to develop the implant model, to control the quality of the titanium casting process and to analyze the functional response of the implant. These analyses are of primary importance for the control of all the results of the project.
The original data for the device design comes from computed tomography images (CT). The images are imported in our system with the aid an interface with the standard format of medical images: the DICOM format. These slices, with the raw data, are then processed with various tools (like filtering, segmentation and visual rendering) in order to obtain a 3-D model. This model is then processed for prosthesis design using CAD/CAM-systems. This processing is essential for an adequate manufacturing chain and in order to obtain higher optimizations in manufacturing. A very important task consists of keeping the necessary compatibility of the data over the whole processing chain, which involves many different methods and competences. The result of the project is an exploitable product for the following reasons: -An industrial process fulfilling the above requirements was not available in the market for small industries or small centers, because of the high costs. -Previous developments were restricted to models based on simple copies of the CT-scans. -Data manipulation and interactive reconstruction of the acquired geometry reaches the precision requirements for this purpose, so it is possible to develop adequate medical-engineering procedures. -The implementation of the virtual model can be performed in a reduced time and without the necessity of highly specialized engineering personnel. The chain that brings to the definition of the prosthetic device is documented in the software manual, so a precise model of the device can be designed.
The aim of this project is the development of an automatic procedure to manufacture custom made implant and prosthesis in the field of dental and maxillo-facial surgery. The leading idea is to combine conventional technologies in processing and manufacturing with new techniques in data processing, in order to ensure the conformity with the medical precision required and also maintain an overall low cost and thus serve an important and growing market like the medical dental area. After an in depth study of materials’ properties, titanium is considered the best solution, because of its good mechanical properties and its excellent bio-compatibility. The manufacturing process is considered, which is held with a titanium casting and milling machine: a series of prototypes of titanium frameworks are provided. This can be done having a reduction in processing time and without the necessity of highly specialized engineering personnel. In order to satisfy medical requirements, a great importance is given to the global quality system and an adequate protocol is developed. This product establishes an improved level of quality in medical care and preoperative diagnosis. The benefits are not restricted to the industrial enterprises. There are substantial advantages for the patients, because standards of medical treatment are guaranteed and improved, ensuring more precise preoperative planning, diminishes surgical risk and reducing the costs. A new market of high technology for biomedical applications is becoming accessible for traditional medium size manufacturing companies.