The incorporation of additive
manufacturing into the OR is
often viewed as a fresh revolution
in the surgical space. That’s not
altogether unreasonable — notable
innovations are still being introduced
on a regular basis — but there are
manufacturers that are old hands at
developing 3D printing solutions.
“We’re talking about new and
innovative technologies, but we have
been doing this for 28 years,” says
Brigitte de Vet, vice president of the
medical unit in Materialise.
A diverse spectrum of industries
are served by Materialise. In
healthcare, the company has a
particular skill for taking medical
images and turning them into
useful 3D models. These models
can be employed in the surgical
planning phase, and Materialise
also develops patient specific
instruments, implants, and devices.
A global partnership with DePuy
Synthes was recently forged, with
Brigitte de Vet
Vice President of the Medical Unit
The TRUMATCH Personalized Solutions Shoulder System will help orthopedic surgeons prepare for shoulder arthroplasty surgery.
(Image credit: Materialise)
The evolving needs of patients
make additive manufacturing an
especially useful tool. An aging
population of patients means a
greater prevalence of chronic
conditions. In orthopedics,
complicated revision surgeries are
becoming more common.
“There’s a higher pressure on
finding new ways of treating these
more complex patients,” notes de
Because of the added challenge
inherent to revision surgeries, it
is extremely difficult to develop
a standardized approach. That
dilemma hampers ongoing attempts
to build efficiency into the process.
Additive manufacturing can help
because it provides an effective
avenue for presurgical planning.
Since 3D printing techniques
aren’t automatically part of the
physician’s toolbox, companies such
as Materialise need to find ways
to instill greater comfort with the
technology in the field.
“We believe that part of our
role is to educate the markets and
people around what our products
can do,” de Vet says.
Materialise offers summits where