3D printing is a solution for a growing number of knee patients. Metal Additive Manufacturing is increasingly used for Total Knee Replacement (TKR) surgeries, Partial Knee Replacement (PKR) Surgeries, especially through so-called Bi-Compartmental Knee Replacement (BKR) procedures. Total Knee Replacement is also called total knee arthroplasty. Compared to polymer alternatives titanium 3D printed knee implants promote the growth of connective tissue on bone (osseointegration). The surfaces of these implant are custom made in specific ways or at particular locations. With 3D printing, there is no costly plasma coating step needed to obtain ideal surfaces for osseointegration. Indeed the very surfaces and textures of trabecular (spongy) bone can be mimicked through the 3D printing step.
The 3D printed knee implant itself is now often patient specific. Based on a CT or MRI scan of the patient, a titanium implant is constructed that has precisely the right shape and size for that one patient. Patient-specific 3D printed implants in knee surgeries have been shown to reduce recovery times and pain. The procedure itself is also less time consuming because less effort is needed to fit the implant with the patient. Typically less bone has to be removed during surgery and post-surgery, a unique fit can lead to better stress distribution throughout the knee. These total knee replacement procedures seem to be leading to better patient outcomes while at the same time costs are reduced. Shorter hospital stays and less recovery time are some potential outcomes. In many cases the 3D printed knee implants themselves are less expensive than those made with CNC or other processes.
A custom femoral prosthesis and custom acetabular cup can be created for one individual alone to solve their issue with that one diseased knee. Arthritis, obesity and other debilitating conditions affecting knees are on the rise while in wealthy countries larger groups of people are living much longer into old age. Knee replacement surgeries using 3D printed implants are becoming a more common surgical procedure in the future.
The MetalFAB1 is designed for industrial manufacturing in demanding markets which require compliance with ISO13485 regulatory standard for medical devices.
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