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Surgical precision from the GTMA

07 November 2011

Continuing its aim to influence the high technology engineering sectors in the UK, the GTMA will host its Engineering Assisted Surgery Medical Conference on Wednesday, 23rd November 2011. Running from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm, the conference will be held at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) at Ansty Park, Coventry. The MTC has been built to provide a globally competitive manufacturing research hub, making it the ideal location for this collaboration of medical and engineering innovations.

Sue Dunkerton

The conference will be chaired by Sue Dunkerton (pictured), co-director of the HealthTech and Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). Sponsored by the Technology Strategy Board, this KTN was established to support and accelerate innovation in the life sciences sector for human health. 

The morning presentations will cover implants with the afternoon given over to dental and facial developments. Professor David Wimpenny will cover the ‘production of precise prosthesis and implants using Additive Manufacturing’. He is one of the world’s leading experts in the field of Additive Manufacturing and his groundbreaking work at Warwick University, De Montfort University and MTC has paved the way for the use of Additive Manufacturing in the generation of end use products. He has published over 70 research papers and was named as one of the 20 most influential Additive Manufacturing people in the world.

Additive Manufacturing methods are no longer confined to the production of engineering prototypes. It is being used for anatomical models and patient-specific implants can be produced from medical scan data, simplifying complex surgery procedures.

John Sullivan is Professor of Surface Science and Head of the Surface Science Group at Aston University and Director of Midlands Surface Analysis Ltd. He is a Fellow of both the Institute of Physics and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

His research interests have centred on the development and application of physical and chemical surface analytical techniques in the solution of problems of industrial relevance. He also leads Midlands Surface Analysis Ltd, a company which provides surface and material analysis services to a range of industries, including the medical device industry.

He will speak about medical implant surface and properties analysis. Materials used in the production of long-term implantable devices must be such that the surfaces cannot produce any adverse local or systemic effects in the host. As he explains: “The materials must be biocompatible, but what is regarded as biocompatible for one application is not necessarily biocompatible for another. What is clear is that the materials must not lead to mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, hypersensitivity, anaphylaxis, or thromboembolic events.

"What is far less clear is if they should have properties which encourage protein or cell attachment, inflammation, fibrosis or calcification. Materials which are mechanically or economically most suited for the production of application specific medical devices may not fulfil required bio-reactive criteria and may even produce adverse effects on the specific bio-system.”

Since all important interaction take place at the surface of the device exposed to the bio-system, it is vitally important to have complete knowledge of the chemical, physical and mechanical properties of the surface during design, production and use of the implants. This presentation covers the techniques available for such investigations and illustrates the use of these techniques through case studies.

The final presentation of the day, ‘Engineering Assisted Surgery’ comes from a man with a deep passion – Mr Ninian Peckitt. As a consultant cosmetic oral, maxillofacial surgeon and facial plastic surgeon as well as Fellow of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery, Adjunct Associate Professor of Engineering Assisted Surgery, School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University New Zealand, he aims to use the very latest engineering advances to benefit patients in need of reconstructive facial surgery. In fact, he coined the phrase ‘Engineering Assisted Surgery’ which captures his vision. Click here for more details.

Mr Peckitt has pioneered radical new technologies to treat patients with head injuries and advanced cancers of the mouth and throat. Such conditions often require the removal of large pieces of bone, which are then replaced by implants.

Using computerised CT and MRI scanners to build 3D models of patients’ heads and then transferring data to rapid prototyping devices, such as stereolithography machines, enables him to accurately create full-sized models. Using the models operations can be planned and, crucially, bespoke titanium implants can be CNC machined to exactly fit the patients’ facial parameters.

He believes medicine in general, and surgery in particular, still has much to learn from manufacturing. “In the 1960s major manufacturers revolutionised their processes using automation techniques and implementing a range of IT solutions, which have continues to develop.

“By contrast, the NHS still has a long way to go in rationalising its procedures and using the latest and most appropriate technologies”

Both reconstructive surgery and toolmaking deal with very complex and precise 3D shapes. Recent advances in engineering technology have proved their worth in manufacturing and there is no reason why they should not also benefit patients.

As well as trauma treatment, the advanced engineering techniques can be applied to surgical replacement or augmentation of worn bones and organs – a need that can only increase as life expectancies extend.

Not only are the latest engineering techniques used to generate the model data and subsequently machine the implant, they are also the foundation of the accurate measurements required at each key stage.

Presenting from a collaborative industrial perspective, Bryn Jones, Operations Director at Bristol Maid, will cover ‘Technology Partnerships’ stimulating growth; a collaboration between manufacturing, academia and the healthcare sector. He says: “Over the past four years Bristol Maid has worked closely with the Imperial NHS Trust at St Mary’s Hospital London and the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Arts, to develop new equipment for the healthcare sector.

The design and development of the new equipment stimulated by academic research, innovative design and assisted to market by a commercial partner. As the commercial partner we use modern ‘high-tech’ manufacturing techniques to enable the design concepts to become commercially viable products for the NHS.”

Providing an overview of the medical market, Phil Russell, medical international application expert for the event’s industry partner, Seco Tools, will look at the aging population and increases in obesity creating an ever-growing market for implanted replacement body parts. From knees and hips to dental structures, the size of the market for implants is increasing worldwide. With this positive growth potential new developments in both technology and materials such as additive manufacturing are changing the way these items are being manufactured.

Refreshments will be provided for attendees and around 20 GTMA members will be exhibiting medical engineering solutions and services on ‘hot desks’ at the event. Places are limited so visitors are encouraged to book early to ensure a place. Click here to register. 
 
 


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