Additive manufacturing allows for a wide range of freeform and complex shapes to be made with little or no manufacturing limitations. The most significant benefit of additive manufacturing in medical applications is that it allows for the creation of patient-specific medical products such as implants. Individualized implants are considered to provide greater comfort, precise fit, user acceptance, and may result in fewer revision surgeries. Additive manufacturing allows for tool-less production, which can lower prototyping & tooling costs as well as reduce medical product development time. Many challenges arise while designing for patient-specific implants, as each product has its own distinct characteristics. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that allows to infinitely reproduce the same result as with traditional procedures. A fast design process, verification, and validation of the implant design for the mechanical stability, biocompatibility, and printability, are among the challenges.
The meniscus, a fibrocartilage structure in the knee joint, plays a very significant role in load transmission, shock absorption, lubrication, and nutrient supply to the articular cartilage. Meniscus damage or wear occurs as a result of accidental injuries or aging, and may necessarily require partial or total replacement of the meniscus. This study focuses on the design of individualised meniscal implants that would relieve pain and restore knee joint functionality. The research aims to explore the load bearing capacity of meniscus implants using three different lattice structure designs. Material properties, cell topology and shape, and relative density of structures all influence the properties of lattice structures. In current study, a shell- core type meniscus geometry is analyzed where the lattice structures in core serves as a strengthening component, while the shell binds the meniscus geometry together and keeps it in shape. The beam diameters and lattice size of each individualized implant can be altered to better meet the strength requirements and production constraints. The implant design proposed here could also be used to create a multi-material meniscus implant that combines the strength of different materials.