Software alternative to amputation

Written by: Tom Shelley | Published:

Software is key to the design and manufacture of custom-made bone and joint implants for patients with tumours and major bone loss at Isiqu Orthopaedics near Cape Town, South A

frica. In most cases, the only alternative to implants would have been amputation of the affected limb.
“We have been using Delcam products since the start of Isiqu’s manufacturing operations,” explained director George Vicatos.
The process begins with either an X-Ray, MRI or 3D CT scan. If it is in the first two formats, the image is scanned and digitised, and the basic dimensions obtained to help in the design decisions. If it is in CT scan format, it is first converted to an STL file format, which may be imported into Delcam’s CopyCAD reverse engineering software so that it can be converted into surfaces to produce a digital model of the skeletal part to be replaced by the implant. The surfaces produced by CopyCAD, or the dimensions from x-ray or MRI scans, are imported into the Powershape CAD software in which the design of the implant is completed. The final design is then passed into the Powermill CAM system used to program the company’s five-axis DMG milling machine.


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