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Materialise partners with Mathys to offer 3-D printed, personalized shoulder surgery guides

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Animation of 3-D shoulder model based on CT images--Screenshot courtesy of Materialise

Private, family-owned orthopedics player Mathys is looking to add 3-D printed surgical shoulder guides as part of a larger effort to help it turn around its business. The Bettlach, Switzerland-based company will offer the Shoulder Guide System from Materialise ($MTLS), which is located in Leuven, Belgium.

The web-based system includes 3-D surgical planning software and patient-specific surgical guides for shoulder surgery. The idea is to enable surgeons to plan for each procedure based on a patient's particular anatomy. Once a preoperative plan is in place, 3-D guides of a patient's shoulder anatomy are printed for reference use during surgery.

Tailoring a procedure to a patient's individual needs is crucial to long-term success of any orthopedics procedure; patients can be plagued down the line with unintended consequences if their particular bone structure isn't considered sufficiently during orthopedic procedures.

"Through our collaboration with Mathys, our goal is to enable even more surgeons to discover the benefits of 3-D printing in the planning and execution of total and reverse shoulder replacement surgeries," said Materialise Medical Segment EVP Hilde Ingelaere in a statement.

The small-cap 3-D printing company is working to establish itself more firmly in the medical market. Last December, Materialise committed to an expansion of its U.S. operations in order to capitalize on its Materialise Mimics Innovation Suite, which is intended to be used in hospitals to create 3-D printed anatomical models for all sorts of procedures. The software works with all 3-D printing technologies and is cleared by the FDA, the company said.

Later that month, Materialise also announced a pair of partnerships for medical implants--a licensing agreement with the University of Michigan to create 3-D printed bioresorbable tracheal splints and a deal with Tissue Regeneration Systems to produce them for use in clinical trials.

For its part, Mathys had waning revenues last year and is looking to new technologies to bolster them. In 2015, its revenue shrank 6.6% to CHF 130.4 million ($131.4 million). The company has almost 550 employees.

Commented Ronald Lenzeder, Mathys director of marketing on the Materialise deal, "Since 1958, Mathys has been committed to offering our clients and their patients the best possible restoration of quality of life. By including Materialise's Shoulder Guide System in our portfolio, we are able to deliver on this promise by helping surgeons achieve more predictable surgical outcomes through the use of preoperative planning and 3-D printed patient-specific guides."

- here is the announcement

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