Foot/ankle 3D printed implants
3D printed implants advance foot and ankle surgery
A novel study published in Foot & Ankle International has highlighted how advancements in 3D printing in recent years have led to improved foot and ankle implant surgery. For example, orthopedic surgeons are able to treat a wide range of complex foot and ankle injuries which prior to this would have resulted in amputations.
Researchers at Duke University Department of Orthopedic Surgery (NC, USA) followed the progress of 15 patients that received custom 3D printed titanium implants between 2014–2016. In each case the implants were produced by taking a computed tomography (CT) scan of each patient. The data accumulated was uploaded to a program that formed a blueprint of the orthotic which allowed for the 3D manipulation of the bones and joints. After further modification and approval of the designs by the senior surgeon, the implants were printed for each patient.
Post-surgery and during recovery, the patients underwent a second CT scan which showed that the 3D printed implants were successful in 13 of the 15 patients. The patients also reported that they experienced less pain with the implant, and would undergo the procedure again if it was necessary.
The orthopedic surgeons involved in the study were extremely pleased with the results as the implants reduced post-operative complications. They were also excited about the flexibility granted by the incorporation of 3D printing in the design process. It allows for the production of a greater range of shapes and sizes for the orthotics which traditional methods cannot provide.
"The future of 3D printing is very bright. Surgeons who may have been skeptical about using this technology can now use this data to make an informed decision about using it to improve patient care," commented Samuel Adams, Director of Foot and Ankle Research at Duke University Medical Center and senior author of the study.
Sources: Dekker TJ, Steele JR, Federer AE, Hamid KS, Adams DB. Use of Patient-Specific 3D-Printed Titanium Implants for Complex Foot and Ankle Limb Salvage, Deformity Correction, and Arthrodesis Procedures. Foot Ankle Int. 39(8) 916–921 (2018); www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/3d-printed-implants-successful-in-foot-and-ankle-surgery-300725331.html