The fact that we have skilled and educated people in Slovakia probably does not need to be emphasized to anyone. For one such example, we went to Košice, namely to the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Measurement, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University in Košice. Behind this long name lies a top scientific workplace of biomedical engineering, which in a few years of its activity has managed to build world recognition in the field.
At the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Measurement, they decided to use additive production technologies, which were originally intended for various technical and mechanical purposes, in medicine in the production of various implants, prostheses and medical devices. For the commercial use of these technologies, a spin-off company Biomedical Engineering was established within the Technical University, thanks to which the results of research work can be directly translated into practice and help in the treatment of patients. The use of additive 3D printing technologies in this case is very wide and at the department you will find a wide range of 3D printing technologies for this purpose, from the classic application of fused filament, ie the technology most commonly seen in commercial 3D printers, to sophisticated systems that can work. with laser sintering of titanium powder, with liquid polymers or even with organic materials.
Prof. Ing. Radovan Hudák is one of the founders of Biomedical Engineering
In their innovation center of biomedical 3D technologies, they even develop their own materials for 3D printing, which can be used for various purposes and can thus meet precisely defined parameters, such as magnesium alloys within the project APVV-17-0278. This workplace was also very active in the first wave of the fight against the new coronavirus. At that time, they also developed, in cooperation with several sponsors, components of protective shields for healthcare professionals, doctors and other ingredients at a time when there was a shortage of these protective devices on the market. In addition, we will find a workplace for the development and production of prostheses and their parts, which are tailored exactly for a particular patient implemented within the project APVV-19-0290.
At the beginning of implant production is the processing of data from a computer tomograph and the creation of an accurate 3D model
3D printing technology from liquid polymers produces various finished products for the dental field, such as models, crowns, bridges, splints and much more. The quality of the materials is already fine-tuned that they provide excellent durability and quality surfaces. The use of 3D bioprinting, which enables printing from biological materials, has a promising future. Cells can be pushed directly to create tissues and structures that the body can accept. A very interesting example, which you can also see in the video, was the creation of a breathing tube implant for a dog that had it severely damaged. Thanks to 3D bioprint technology, scientists have saved his life.
One of the cutting-edge technologies used is the 3D BIOPLOTER, WHICH enables printing from biological materials to replace tissues.
However, we were most interested in body implants made of titanium alloy. In their development and production, the department, in cooperation with Biomedical Engineering, ranks among the absolute world leaders, and in some processes and technologies they even have a world leadership. During the visit we could see the implants of the skull, face, sledge, ribs, pelvis and much more. This is, of course, only a fraction of the total number of implants.
The Department of Biomedical Technologies has a number of unique TRANSPLANTATES, WHICH have already helped more than 350 patients
The production of the implant begins in the hospital at the specialist workplace, where the patient is imaged by means of computed tomography (CT) image of a defective site, such as a damaged skull. It is then processed into a 3D model and a specialist in the modeling software creates the exact shape of the implant. The necessary data for 3D printing can then be generated from it. These are saved in a printer, which according to them creates a 3D model. Printing is performed using laser sintering technology. A thin layer of titanium alloy powder is always applied to the printing plate. The laser draws the shape of the printed layer in a precise motion, melting the powder grains at a specified location. This is followed by the application of another layer of powder and further laser imaging. In this way, the entire 3D print is born one layer at a time. After printing, it proceeds to the next workplace, where it is completely mechanically machined. Then only its inspection and marking follows. If required by the medical team, a 3D printout is also created around the implant, where it will be installed, so that the doctors can perfectly verify its correctness, or make corrections before the operation directly on the patient.
At the request of the medical TEAM, it is sometimes necessary to create a 3D model of the damaged ORGAN, IN order to check the correctness of the created implant before the operation.
Watching these technologies is really fascinating, so we tried to capture them in our video as well.
The great benefit of this project is undeniable, as evidenced by the more than 350 patients who already wear implants made by this team. As you can see, both components benefit from the close connection of science with practice, because researchers and students have direct access to cutting-edge technologies from practice and the company, in turn, educates the next generation of its employees exactly according to its requirements and needs.
Source: Nextech by www.nextech.sk.
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