By Te Edwards
Spinal fusion surgeries in the United States have increased by 70 percent between 2001 and 2011. While those numbers are due in large part to the aging of the American population, they’re also due to advances in technology like additive manufacturing.
The problem with such surgeries has always been that, traditional methods which require bone grafts and the implantation of metal hardware often lead to complications like implant migration and broken implants. Such complications often require yet another operation and bring with them the inherent dangers of complex interventions .
Now for what Dr. Uwe Spetzger, a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery of the Klinikum Karlsruhe in Germany says is the first time ever, a patient suffering with a degenerative cervical spine issue has received a 3D printed, “titanium fusion” implant.