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Patient receives first-ever 3D printed ceramic jaw implant

The implant was produced by Lithoz and is part of the EU-funded INKplant project

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A 3D printed ceramic subperiosteal jaw implant – developed and built by Austrian ceramic 3D printing specialist Lithoz – has been successfully placed in a patient for the first time. Fabricated in Austria, this innovation marks a significant advancement in medicine and is part of the EU-funded INKplant project – consisting of 19 interdisciplinary partners, led by Profactor GmbH. The project aims to create 3D printed patient-specific implants to treat various pathologies affecting the elderly.

Patient receives first-ever 3D printed ceramic jaw implant. The implant was produced by Lithoz and is part of the EU-funded INKplant project.

Lithoz has been researching the optimal fusion of various biomaterials with the advantages of 3D printing since 2021. The implant was developed to address the issue of atrophic jaws, a common problem in older patients. After the loss of teeth, the jawbone disappears as well, resulting in atrophic jaws and rendering the use of dentures impossible. With severe atrophy, conventional dental implants require lengthy operations to graft new bone to anchor the implants. Such operations are difficult for elderly patients who cannot undergo bone grafting due to health issues.

A patient at Kepler University Hospital, who had lost multiple dental implants and bone grafts in the past due to his compromised health, was unable to receive further conventional surgical strategies as a result of significant scarring and thus received the new implant as a compassionate use case. Made of biocompatible high-strength zirconia using Lithoz LCM technology, the implant did not require any bone augmentation and only needed one procedure – reducing healing time by an estimated 75% and avoiding excess trauma for the patient. Thanks to this synergetic innovation in design and material, all the necessary surgical procedures were completed in a single operation.

Patient receives first-ever 3D printed ceramic jaw implant. The implant was produced by Lithoz and is part of the EU-funded INKplant project.

The surgery, led by DDr. Christoph Staudigl, was a successful world-first use of a ceramic subperiosteal jaw implant in a compassionate use case on a patient. Despite some expected wound healing issues after surgery, the superior soft tissue compatibility of zirconia, compared to titanium, was spectacular. The implant showed clinical stability after 60 days – representing a decisive breakthrough for the treatment of severely atrophic jaws.

The design of the customized implant was pioneered by the Centre for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at the Medical University of Vienna in collaboration with DDr. Staudigl. During the design process, BTI Biotechnology Institute (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain) and BioMed Centre Innovation GmbH (Bayreuth, Germany) also contributed significantly with their expertise. The implant will be patented and adopted as a medical device by BioMed Centre spin-off Agensmed GmbH and will be manufactured using Lithoz 3D printers. A clinical trial is being prepared to systematically validate its efficacy.

Patient receives first-ever 3D printed ceramic jaw implant. The implant was produced by Lithoz and is part of the EU-funded INKplant project.

The project INKplant has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 953134.

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