Zamboanga City researchers to develop local implant for facial fracture restoration

To provide a cheaper alternative in treating mandibular fractures, a type of facial fracture commonly caused by vehicular accidents, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) supports researchers from Zamboanga City in a new project that will develop a local implant using emerging biomaterials and modern technology.

Mandibular fractures are the most common facial bone fracture in the Philippines. The standard practice for the treatment of this fracture involves the use of titanium implants as it provides the benefit of immediate restoration of the face’s normal form and function.

Aiming to provide an alternative for titanium implants and further improve surgeries to correct jaw and facial deformities by minimizing the surgical time and enhancing patient recovery, Dr. Rentor Y. Cafino, Medical Officer IV of Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) led the development of a local 3D-printed osteosynthesis plate using emerging biomaterials such as polyetheretherketone or more commonly known as PEEK.

Custom implants using PEEK can be 3D-printed in the hospital or laboratory and can be specifically modeled with the patient’s anatomical structure, which eliminates long waiting times and reduces costs. Initiated in August 2022, the team also hopes to participate in the creation of policies on the standardization of in-house implant manufacturing and the integration and inclusion of custom implants in health insurance companies in the country.

To date, the project team has already finalized the implant design and optimized the print profiles per implant dimension. The team also started 3D printing of PEEK, which was attached to a synthetic mandible, and conducted initial testing of the samples to improve its mechanical properties.

The product will undergo further testing required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before human clinical trials.

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