GE Additive helps create metal blades for easier hip cup extraction
Devin JonesGeneral Medical
Once a 30-minute procedure using a chisel, extraction now takes a matter of minutes with 3D printed endoCupcut.
Endocon, a German company specializing in the manufacturing and distribution of small joint prosthetics, is beginning to leverage metal AM technology to help with complex procedures such as the removal of a hip cup.
Working with GE Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) technology, what was once a 30 minute procedure using a chisel, now takes a matter of minutes with an endoCupcut: a pincer-like device that allows for precise cutting along the acetabular cup. The 3D printed blades attached to the device allow for a safer extraction of cement-less hip-cups, where previous methods risked damaging bone, making the surface uneven and the insertion of a new implant even more difficult.
Using GE’s Mlab Cusing 100R machine, endocon has not only been able reduce the rejection rate of the material almost entirely, but they’ve also made the process more cost effective. With 15 different blade sizes ranging from 44 mm to 72mm, surgeons can now implant the same size cup that was originally there. Produced in three weeks, post-processing work included, the endoCupcut has a corrosion/deformation average of 1,8 kN compared to the previous 600 N seen on other models. The endoCupcut is made from 17-4 PH stainless steel.
“We’ve been able to reduce the cost per blade by around forty to forty-five per cent. That means cost savings for us and in turn for our customers. When you combine that with a reduction in product development time, higher efficiency and lower rejection rates, then the business case for additive really becomes attractive.”
In terms of the AM process itself, local metal 3D printing specialist Weber-KP is managing everything. From data prep to the build orientation; surfacing finishing and bead blasting, KP is working alongside GE and endocon to produce consistent parts that are repeatable.