Titanium (Ti) and its alloys may be processed via advanced powder manufacturing routes such as additive layer manufacturing (or 3D printing) or metal injection moulding. This field is receiving increased attention from various manufacturing sectors including the medical devices sector. It is possible that advanced manufacturing techniques could replace the machining or casting of metal alloys in the manufacture of devices because of associated advantages that include design flexibility, reduced processing costs, reduced waste, and the opportunity to more easily manufacture complex or custom-shaped implants. The emerging advanced manufacturing approaches of metal injection moulding and additive layer manufacturing are receiving particular attention from the implant fabrication industry because they could overcome some of the difficulties associated with traditional implant fabrication techniques such as titanium casting. Using advanced manufacturing, it is also possible to produce more complex porous structures with improved mechanical performance, potentially matching the modulus of elasticity of local bone. While the economic and engineering potential of advanced manufacturing for the manufacture of musculo-skeletal implants is therefore clear, the impact on the biocompatibility of the materials has been less investigated. In this review, the capabilities of advanced powder manufacturing routes in producing components that are suitable for biomedical implant applications are assessed with emphasis placed on surface finishes and porous structures. Given that biocompatibility and host bone response are critical determinants of clinical performance, published studies of in vitro
and in vivo
research have been considered carefully. The review concludes with a future outlook on advanced Ti production for biomedical implants using powder metallurgy.
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