Medical device manufacturers Nvision Biomedical Technologies and Watershed Idea Foundry have received FDA clearance for what is reportedly the world’s first 3D printed titanium anterior cervical plate.
Named the Quantum Titanium Cervical Plate System, the medical device is a small plate that’s commonly used to provide stability for the spine after surgery.
By 3D printing their cervical plate, Nvision and Watershed have been able to leverage the design benefits of additive manufacturing, combining multiple smaller components into one monolithic part. According to the firms, this greatly reduces the risk of accidental device disassembly for a patient. When compared to a traditionally manufactured counterpart, the 3D printed Quantum Titanium Cervical Plate System also lends itself to lower manufacturing costs and faster lead times.
Nvision Biomedical Technologies and Watershed Idea Foundry are sister companies operating under Fountainhead Investment Partners. They’ve previously collaborated on other 3D printed medical products such as wedges and interference screws.
“It has been incredibly exciting for us to realize new product enhancements made possible by Additive Manufacturing,” stated Nick Cordaro, CEO of Watershed Idea Foundry. “Nvision’s willingness to champion Additive Manufacturing innovation into a commercial product made for an ideal technology transfer scenario.”
What is an anterior cervical plate?
Developed back in the 1980s, anterior cervical plates are applied to the front of the spine during surgery to protect bone grafts and provide integrity to the spinal construct while it heals. They were initially used in long cervical fusions but are increasingly seeing use for anterior cervical decompression, fusion for cervical spondylosis, degenerative disc disease, and scoliosis.
Conventionally manufactured cervical plates tend to be quite costly to produce and comprise several smaller components, meaning there’s a risk they could disassemble themselves if they aren’t fitted or screwed in correctly. The Quantum Titanium Cervical Plate System is designed to address this.
Image Credit: Nvision Biomedical Technologies.