UDH has previously used Renishaw’s additive manufacturing (AM) services to produce a series of dental products, including cobalt chrome frameworks. However, the hospital has also been using AM to develop bespoke maxillofacial implants and surgical guides.

By using custom-made devices, hospitals can reduce surgery time considerably as, unlike standard ‘off the shelf’ implants, each device is designed to fit the patient. Standard implants may need modifications, or the patient’s surrounding bone could require extra trimming for the device to fit.

Not only are customised devices highly likely to improve patient experience and reduce the risks related to extended time under anaesthesia, but they can also save significant time in surgery and, therefore, cost. By using AM to produce a wider range of implants, UDH is bringing these benefits to its patients and staff.

“AM allows hospitals to achieve high precision when producing implants,” states Ed Littlewood, marketing manager at Renishaw’s medical and dental products division. “By collaborating with Renishaw, UDH can develop their maxillofacial implants further, seeing improvements with each case and helping a wider range of patients and surgeons across different departments.”

Roger Maggs, senior chief dental technologist and head of dental technology services at UDH, adds: “Several hospitals are reaping the benefits of AM in implant production. We have the advantage of having worked with Renishaw for three years in the dental field. This has put us ahead of the game and in a position where we can now start thinking about producing more unique designs that will benefit our surgeons.

“The staff at UDH are also benefitting from the partnership,” continues Maggs. “The team are involved in every stage of developing new technologies for medical applications, including inputting CT data, and making and manipulating digital models ahead of surgery.”

UDH treats 100,000 patients per year and acts as a teaching hospital for Cardiff University’s School of Dentistry.