Case Study

Fine-Tuning Your Filament: 3D Printing Of Medical Implants

By: Dr. C├ęcile Boudot, Dr. Thiago Borges, Evonik Health Care

Evonik’s RESOMER® bioresorbable polymers have been used for decades in many implantable medical devices. More than 20 RESOMER® grades in different composition, such as polylactide (PLA), polylactide-co-glycolide (PLGA), polycaprolactone (PCL) and polydioxanone (PDO), have been used for fabrication of suture anchors, interference screws or devices for ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears and repairs. Having a versatile portfolio allows us to deliver devices with degradation times ranging from few weeks to more than three years. Although their application has been mainly in sports medicine, orthopedic and surgical applications, the rapidly advance of different manufacturing technologies has broadened the use of RESOMER® in other devices. In this article, we discuss how RESOMER® can be used in 3D-printed devices via Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF).

FFF is a printing process that enables the continuous feeding of a polymer filament from a spool through a moving, heated extruder nozzle (Figure 1). There are several advantages of using FFF over other 3D printing technologies, including high availability of different materials, possibility to use two or more materials during the same printing and low initial investment for the printer. Despite being slower than other printing technologies, advances in FFF printers have allowed their use in industrial scale and the printing of complex shapes by using support structures.

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