Home Medical 3D-printed ceramic implant enables treatment for severe jaw atrophy

3D-printed ceramic implant enables treatment for severe jaw atrophy

A 3D-printed ceramic implant could fundamentally change the treatment of patients with severe jaw atrophy. In collaboration with the Austrian 3D printing specialist Lithoz, researchers at the Medical University of Vienna have developed a subperiosteal jaw implant made of zirconium oxide, which has been successfully used in a patient for the first time.

The implant addresses a common problem in older patients. After tooth loss, the jawbone recedes, making it difficult to use conventional dentures. Until now, complex bone transplants were necessary for severe cases, which can be problematic, especially for older patients or patients with health problems.

“Our approach enables a much gentler treatment,” explains Dr Christoph Staudigl, lead surgeon for the initial implantation. “The customised implant is placed directly onto the remaining jawbone without the need for augmentation.”

The use of high-strength zirconium oxide as the implant material was crucial to the success. “Zirconium oxide has excellent tissue compatibility and can be 3D printed precisely using our LCM technology,” explains Dr Johannes Homa, CEO of Lithoz. Additive manufacturing enables patient-specific customisation of the complex implant geometry.

Initial clinical results are promising: 60 days after the operation, the implant showed stable integration. The researchers estimate that the healing time can be reduced by up to 75 per cent compared to conventional methods.

The project is part of the EU-funded INKplant initiative, which is developing patient-specific 3D-printed implants for various age-related diseases. A clinical study to systematically validate the process is currently in preparation.

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