Clinical, industrial, and research perspectives on powder bed fusion additively manufactured metal implants

Morgan Lowther, Sophie Louth, Amy Davey, Azad Hussain, Paola Ginestra, Luke Carter, Neil Eisenstein, Liam Grover, Sophie Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
276 Downloads (Pure)


For over ten years, metallic skeletal endoprostheses have been produced in select cases by additive manufacturing (AM) and increasing awareness is driving demand for wider access to the technology. This review brings together key stakeholder perspectives on the translation of AM research; clinical application, ongoing research in the field of powder bed fusion, and the current regulatory framework. The current clinical use of AM is assessed, both on a mass-manufactured scale and bespoke application for patient specific implants. To illuminate the benefits to clinicians, a case study on the provision of custom cranioplasty is provided based on prosthetist testimony. Current progress in research is discussed, with immediate gains to be made through increased design freedom described at both meso- and macro-scale, as well as long-term goals in alloy development including bioactive materials. In all cases, focus is given to specific clinical challenges such as stress shielding and osseointegration. Outstanding challenges in industrialisation of AM are openly raised, with possible solutions assessed. Finally, overarching context is given with a review of the regulatory framework involved in translating AM implants, with particular emphasis placed on customisation within an orthopaedic remit. A viable future for AM of metal implants is presented, and it is suggested that continuing collaboration between all stakeholders will enable acceleration of the translation process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-584
Number of pages20
JournalAdditive Manufacturing
Early online date7 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Implants
  • Medical devices
  • Powder bed fusion
  • Selective laser melting


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical, industrial, and research perspectives on powder bed fusion additively manufactured metal implants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this