The computer‐aided design (CAD) and manufacture of custom‐fitting surgical guides have been shown to provide an accurate means of transferring computer‐aided planning to surgery. To date guides have been produced using fragile materials via rapid prototyping techniques such as stereolithography (SLA), which typically require metal reinforcement to prevent damage from drill bits. The purpose of this paper is to report case studies which explore the application of selective laser melting (SLM) to the direct manufacture of stainless steel surgical guides. The aim is to ascertain whether the potential benefits of enhanced rigidity, increased wear resistance (negating reinforcement) and easier sterilisation by autoclave can be realised in practice.
A series of clinical case studies are undertaken utilising medical scan data, CAD and SLM. The material used is 316L stainless steel, an alloy typically used in medical and devices and surgical instruments. All treatments are planned in parallel with existing techniques and all guides are test fitted and assessed on SLA models of the patients' anatomy prior to surgery.
This paper describes the successful application of SLM to the production of stainless steel surgical guides in four different maxillofacial surgery case studies. The cases reported address two types of procedure, the placement of osseointegrated implants for prosthetic retention and Le Fort 1 osteotomies using internal distraction osteogenesis. The cases reported here have demonstrated that SLM is a viable process for the manufacture of custom‐fitting surgical guides.
The cases have identified that the effective design of osteotomy guides requires further development and refinement.
This paper represents the first reported applications of SLM technology to the direct manufacture of stainless steel custom‐fitting surgical guides. Four successful exemplar cases are described including guides for osteotomy as well as drilling. Practical considerations are presented along with suggestions for further development.
Bibb, R., Eggbeer, D., Evans, P., Bocca, A. and Sugar, A. (2009), "Rapid manufacture of custom‐fitting surgical guides", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 15 No. 5, pp. 346-354. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552540910993879Download as .RIS
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