Utilising Additive Manufacturing for a shoulder stem implant

Utilising Additive Manufacturing for a shoulder stem implant

Case Studies Utilising Additive Manufacturing for a shoulder stem implant

'Representative geometry of a shoulder implant stem'

Utilising Additive Manufacturing for a shoulder stem implant


Shoulder stems are widely used to provide pain relief and improved mobility to more than 53,000 patients a year in the US alone The use of AM to manufacture medical implants has many advantages over conventional processes. It can improve the longevity of implants through the use of integrated complex internal cavities and optimised lattice structures that are not achievable using conventional processes.

Novel Functions of AM Implant

  1. Direct regular release of medicine into patient bone/tissue post-operation through complex internal channels
  2. Facilitated direct fixation of implant through insertion of bone cement though complex internal channels

Advantages of AM Implementation

  • The use of lattice could be used to tailor the implant strength (Rigidity) and accelerate implant-bone osseo-integration.
  • AM process is to design internal channels into the implant. These internal cavities could be used for localised drug delivery into the bone during the initial stages of the implant life.

Limitations of Conventional Manufacture Strategy

  • Design difficulty for inner-channels when using casting process. Alternative would be to machine a forged component – limited by linear drilled holes
  • Metal foam structures can be applied to near net-shape implants to achieve similar design – expensive additional process
  • Investment casting can be used, however requires additional process - wax model manufacture

MTC Technologies

  • Utilising specialist design software to design complex solid-wall channels within a latticed implant structure
  • Using build preparation software for build set-up
  • L-PBF processing of component using EOS M-400 system


  • Demonstrated MTC’s capabilities to design complex solid bodies within lattice structures
  • Demonstrated MTC’s capability to successfully process a component containing complex overhanging lattice structures and integrated internal channels
  • The project showcased how high value manufacturing technologies can be utilised for emerging market sector