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New Materialise technology widens the opportunities for image-based manufacturing

Materialise NV : 25 April, 2003  (Company News)
On Saturday April 26 Materialise will host the 'Computer Guided Implantology' conference where high-end users will share their experience in dental implant planning with SimPlant software and the use of SurgiGuide drill guides.
At this event, Materialise will present the latest innovative Materialise technology that combines medical (CT) and optical (laser) imaging into a very precise 3D model. This new technology demonstrates clearly the strength of Materialise when it comes to providing automated design solutions.

Materialise has been developing and producing systems that simplify and improve the placement of dental implants, by allowing surgeons to visualise the patient's jaw in ever finer detail using the SimPlant software. Starting from scanned data, this software creates a virtual model of the jaw that can be viewed and manipulated on an ordinary computer. The programme allows the surgeon to insert and manipulate implants on screen. SimPlant assures accuracy by using the surgeon's completed plan together with the scanned data of the patient's jaw to produce a drill guide that guides the drill and implants during implantation.

Materialise concentrates on developing new minimally invasive techniques to make the procedure more comfortable for the patients. Their latest technology is a striking example of this: by combining optical and medical scanned data into one single, very precise 3D model of the jaw, it's now possible to produce tooth-supported SurgiGuides. Since all the planning has been done beforehand, and the bone has been extensively evaluated, it's not necessary to make an incision to expose the bone and to insert the drill and implants. A small punched hole through the gums is sufficient to position the implants accurately.

By combining optical and medical scanned data, the disadvantages of both techniques are cancelled out. CT scans provide a very precise image of the inside of the jaw. Metal elements (e.g. fillings or brackets) however can produce scatter in the files, which hampers a correct image. Laser scanning the plaster cast of the patient's teeth is not influenced by metal and thus delivers a very precise image of the outside of the jaw, but it doesn't allow to visualise the inside of the jaw (the nerves etc.). Thanks to the highly advanced algorithm that automatically integrates both types of scanned data - point clouds on the one hand and sliced files on the other - Materialise is able to offer the most detailed and precise 3D model to the surgeon.

'Materialise has made a leap forward by combining the strengths of optical and medical scanning via design automation into a detailed and precise 3D model. This new technology definitely widens the opportunities for image-based manufacturing. It's an important breakthrough in computer guided implantology.' says Prof. Dr. Jos vander Sloten, Division of Biomechanics and Engineering Design, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium and author of 'Computer Technology in Biomaterials Science and Engineering'.

These oral implantology applications as well as several other advanced automated design applications (e.g. the hearing aid applications to automate the design and production of hearing aids) clearly establish Materialise as a technological leader in this area. The Materialise Software Development Services team collaborates closely with various market-leading companies to develop new kinds of automated design applications that meet the specific needs and requirements of those companies. For more info on customized projects and automated design applications by Materialise Software Development Services, please have a look at For more info on SimPlant and SurgiGuides:
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