Novel Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable 3D Printed Implants as a Drug Delivery System

S.I. Ranganathan, T.W.B. Kim
Rowan University,
United States

Keywords: additive manufacturing, drug delivery, smart implants


The cost associated with the treatment of Prosthetic Joint Infections (PJI) is expected to reach $ 1.62 billion by 2020, in United States alone. The current gold standard for treatment of infection after total knee arthroplasty is a 2-stage process whereby the implant is removed and temporary spacer made of PMMA (bone cement) with antibiotics is inserted. The patient receives a 6-8 week course of intravenous antibiotics, and then returns to surgery for a re-implantation of a new joint replacement. Unfortunately, PMMA as a drug delivery material has limitations in terms of mechanical and drug-eluting properties. Furthermore, the polymerization reaction for PMMA is highly exothermic, thereby limiting the variety of antibiotics used for the treatment of infections. We have invented a family of 3D printed orthopaedic implants that not only overcome the limitations of PMMA, but can also be designed to be load bearing and customized to individual patient needs. Our implants are ‘smart’ since they incorporate built-in design features such as micro-channels and reservoirs that enable them to act as antibiotic delivery vehicles.