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Point-of-Care Design and Additive Manufacturing of Polyaryletherketone (PAEK) Implants

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

4:00 PM-5:30 PM

BIOMED Seminar

Point-of-Care Design and Additive Manufacturing of Polyaryletherketone (PAEK) Implants

Steven M. Kurtz, PhD
Research Professor
Implant Research Center
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Drexel University

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, has revolutionized the production of patient specific medical devices, including implants. The COVID pandemic has popularized the idea of producing medical devices such as personal protective equipment at the point of care (POC) for health care providers and patients. There are now many examples of POC AM, including surgical planning models and patient specific cutting guides for streamlining surgery. However, 3D printing patient specific implants is in its infancy, especially for technologies, desired by surgeons, that will move implant production from the factory into the hospital. At Biomed’s Implant Research Core, our group is developing the biomaterials science and technology for 3D printing patient specific load bearing implants that integrate with bone. We work primarily with polyaryletherketones (PAEKs), that are high temperature engineering polymers developed initially for aerospace, and adopted for load bearing spinal, orthopedic, and craniomaxillofacial implants over the past two decades.

The technology for producing porous implants from PAEKs using AM is still in its early stages, but the surgical demand for this technology is driving development of POC printing facilities currently in Europe. We envision a future for biomedical engineering careers in POC implant development, working side by side with radiologists and surgeons, to produce patient specific implants. In addition to our research, we are helping to build educational programs in POC AM of medical devices at Drexel that are integrated with the design talent from Wesphal and the traditional engineering fields in the College of Engineering. It is important for future professionals to be abreast of not only the 3D printing technology for what happens “in the box” of the 3D printer for biomedical applications.

We also study and teach what happens “out of the box” of the 3D printer: the design process and workflow for patient-specific medical devices, including developing skills needed for hands-on medical image segmentation, device design, verification, and validation, all of which needs to happen in a regulatory context before a device can be used at the POC. Our goal is to provide students, especially at the graduate level, with both theoretical and practical hands-on experience using commercially-relevant biomedical software and additive manufacturing technology to prepare them for the workforce and for independent research in 3D printing of patient-specific medical devices.

Steven M. Kurtz, PhD, is a part-time Research Professor and Director of the Implant Research Core at Drexel University's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems. Dr Kurtz is a Principal in Exponent's Biomedical Engineering and Science practice in Philadelphia. Dr. Kurtz's professional career has involved the evaluation of medical device technologies, from a combined analytical, experimental, and clinical perspective. His research activities have emphasized the real-world clinical performance of medical devices, including orthopedic, spine, and cardiovascular implants, as assessed by human implant retrieval specimens, national implant registries, and national health care databases; clinical studies of medical devices; and the mechanical behavior of synthetic biomaterials, including UHMWPE and PEEK.

Dr. Kurtz is active in many professional societies, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, the Hip Society, the Knee Society, and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Dr. Kurtz has edited 10 books and written over 260 journal articles and 500 conference abstracts. His work has been recognized with numerous awards, and he has been inducted as a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Contact Information

Lisa Williams

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