Principal investigator: Michael Hast

University: University of Pennsylvania

Industry partners: Johnson & Johnson

As the population continues to grow and age, orthopaedic surgeries continue to increase in frequency. The high rate of complications associated with trauma implants (i.e. plates, screws) is caused, in part, by the mismatch of the mechanical properties of bones and implants. Ideally, orthopaedic implants should be manufactured with mechanical properties and geometry that mimic those of the host. In cases involving trauma, CT scans are typically ordered by clinicians to provide more information about a patient’s fracture geometry and bone quality. This information should be opportunistically leveraged by engineers to develop patient-specific implants that can better recapitulate the form and function of the native bone.

Additive manufacturing, an industry for which Pennsylvania is booming a hub, offers the unique advantage of precisely controlled material properties. Johnson and Johnson, one of the world’s largest healthcare companies, has a strong presence in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. DePuy Synthes, one of their flagship companies, is located in West Chester, PA, and is a leader in the design and manufacture of orthopaedic implants.

The mutual goal of this collaborative proposal is to strengthen collaborative relationships between DePuy Synthes, two research universities in Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania and Penn State University), by meeting the following objectives:

  1. Characterize the influence of key design parameters in additive manufacturing process that are relevant to the design of medical implants
  2. Apply the design and development of patient specific implants to a real-world medical problem (rib fracture repair)
  3. Build student interest in manufacturing careers by introducing them to the innovative and cutting-edge field of additive manufacturing

Completion of this proposal will strengthen the relationship between Pennsylvania medical implant manufacturers and hospital systems, with the common goal of improving standards of care for patients.