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J Biomech. 2012 Aug 31;45(13):2241-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2012.06.011. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

A paradigm for the development and evaluation of novel implant topologies for bone fixation: implant design and fabrication.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2110, USA.


The future development of bio-integrated devices will improve the functionality of robotic prosthetic limbs. A critical step in the advancement of bio-integrated prostheses will be establishing long-term, secure fixation to the remnant bone. To overcome limitations associated with contemporary bone-anchored prosthetic limbs, we established a paradigm for developing and fabricating novel orthopedic implants undergoing specified loading. A topology optimization scheme was utilized to generate optimal implant macrostructures that minimize deformations near the bone-implant interface. Variations in implant characteristics and interfacial connectivity were investigated to examine how these variables influence the layout of the optimized implant. For enhanced tissue integration, the optimally designed macroscopic geometry of a titanium (Ti)-alloy implant was further modified by introducing optimized microstructures. The complex geometries of selected implants were successfully fabricated using selective laser sintering (SLS) technology. Fabrication accuracy was assessed by comparing volumes and cross-sectional areas of fabricated implants to CAD data. The error of fabricated volume to CAD design volume was less than 8% and differences in cross sectional areas between SEM images of fabricated implants and corresponding cross sections from CAD design were on average less than 9%. We have demonstrated that this computational design method, combined with solid freeform fabrication techniques, provides a versatile way to develop novel orthopedic implants.

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