Surgery is usually the most viable option for a long-term solution to a long-term problem; no matter what needs to be replaced or however complicated it may be, 3D printing provides a technically sound avenue to mapping and recreating a part that will fit to the specifications of any body.
A 3D printed knee begins in a computer mapping software that digitally interprets the typography of a kneecap. This information is then read by a 3D printer that outputs a wax mold of the kneecap along with a personalized jig to assist the surgeon in the placement of the part during surgery.
A typical knee-replacement surgery begins with a 10” incision above the knee. Over this hour-long surgery, a stock, man-made kneecap made up of metal and plastic is inserted with minor adjustments made to the bodies’ supporting structure to allow for a somewhat-tolerable fit. Recovery time for the body to adjust to a stock part is on average at least one year!
Surgeons are eager for the implementation of 3D printed parts to become a more regularly preferred and sought after treatment. More successful surgeries that take less time with little to no risk of a mal-adjusted stock prosthesis are equally beneficial to the surgeon and hospital staff as they are to the patient receiving the implant. It’s no wonder 3D printed products are firmly taking hold in the prosthetic and medical communities as a preferred means of parts and supplies!
“Colorado Springs Surgeon among First to Offer 3-D Printed Knee Implant.”Colorado Springs Gazette. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.