CUSTOM IMPLANTS is an industrial research project presented by the Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute and approved on the “Call for Strategic Industrial Research Projects aimed at the priority areas of the smart specialization strategy” (DGR 774/2015) within the ROP ERDF EMILIA-ROMAGNA 2014/2020 Axis 1 Action 1.2.2

Project website


  • IOR-RIT – Rizzoli RIT Department – Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute (Coordinator)
  • IOR-Lanmov, Laboratory of Movement Analysis and Functional Evaluation – Prosthetic Clinic, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute
  • MIST E-R s.c.r.l. – Industrial research laboratory
  • CIRI-ICT – Interdepartmental Center of the University of Bologna for Industrial Research and for Information and Communication Technologies – Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna
  • Confindustria Emilia Romagna RIcerca Soc. Cons. at r.l. – Center for innovation
  • A.T. Progetti s.r.l., I + s.r.l., Samo S.p.A., Energy Group s.r.l. – Businesses


The production of processed, pre-formed and precision fabrics is a requirement that requires both the evolution of surgical techniques and the innovation of the fabrics supplied to tissue banks. Aseptic tissue processing is performed manually using machines that are often unsuitable for precision machining. Precision-Grafting is an innovative manufacturing process capable of producing sterile customized, standardized and repeatable human tissues. The introduction of a robotic arm, integrated into a vision system and managed in a clean-room, represents a real process innovation, which can be proposed to fabric banks with the aim of reducing production costs. The treatment of large bone defects is now mainly entrusted to autologous bone tissue transplantation. However, there are constructs based on pre-fabricated materials or grafts, provided by the tissue banks, having a predefined shape. These constructs have two disadvantages: 1) a remodeling work by the surgeon, 2) problems of stability of the graft in the long term. Because cell interaction with the biomaterials making up the scaffolds is critical to the tissue regeneration process, magnetization of cells with nanoparticles may promote cell placement within the scaffolds. Personalized-Scaffolds stands with authority in this process, given the recent results of 3D magnetic-guided cellularization technology, developed in the Emilia Romagna Region, thanks to the collaboration between CNR of Bologna and IOR in the European project MAGISTER. Traditional endoprostheses are used on a very large scale to replace degenerated articular surfaces. The success is however discrete mainly due to the lack of geometric correspondence between the single specific articulation and the implanted artificial prosthesis. The problem is more critical for small joints (wrist, elbow, shoulder and ankle) that have lower incidence. Custom-Endoprosthesis has biomedical instruments (medical imaging, reconstruction software, biomechanical models, etc.) able to produce customized joint prostheses. Furthermore, the recent 3D printing technology makes the production of single and very complex shapes much more accessible. It is therefore possible to combine these different developments to design and validate procedures that can be used to produce precision implants, customized and realized on the basis of specific osteocartilaginous defects, from the diagnostic images of the individual patient. The three lines of this project each have the capacity to make a decisive contribution to the process of redesigning regenerative and substitute medicine.


The main objective of CUSTOM IMPLANTS is to make implantable custom products available for patients both in the short term and in the medium term. This will lead to the achievement of another important goal: the evolution and integration of different know-how in the area (laboratories and companies involved) in the field of custom products both in prosthetics and regenerative medicine, providing companies with the possibility to exploit the results of the project. The project also includes a significant dissemination of results that will make a significant contribution to maximizing the impact of the project on the regional industrial system.