Medical implants are often used to replace missing body parts or to provide support for organs and tissues. For the latter application, bioresorbable implants may be used, an example of which is bone grafting to repair a critical bone defect with a size > 20 mm. These implants degrade in the body over time and do not require an implant-removal surgery. The materials used for this purpose are, among others, bioresorbable and biocompatible Zinc (Zn) and Magnesium (Mg) alloys because of their mechanical properties close to the body bones and their high biocompatibility. Those materials can be tuned with respect to the required mechanical and corrosive behavior of implants. For example Zn1Mg alloy, developed at the DAP chair, shows a promising behavior to be used as implant materials.
Additive Manufacturing, particularly Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF), is an enabler to process those bioresorbable and biocompatible alloys to produce patient-specific and optimized structures, like spongy and porous trabecular bone tissue replacements. The bone implant is designed as lattice structures that are optimized not only to the production process constraints but also to the requirements regarding the bioprocesses in the body.