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Utilizing 3D printing for better and faster knee surgery

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-03 Click:30

Computer simulation tests, including tibial scans of 28 patients, and clinical trials of knee alignment osteotomy (TOKA) therapy are currently underway in Italy. This surgery mainly uses 3D metal printing technology to create personalized medical grade titanium alloy plates that are completely suitable for each patient. When combined with surgery, it can be more stable, comfortable, and able to withstand weight than existing ordinary steel plates.

For many people with knee arthritis, a surgical procedure called high tibial osteotomy (HTO) typically brings relief. HTO surgery involves cutting the patient's tibia (tibia) directly below the knee, then using this incision to open a small gap in the bone, and finally maintaining the tibia in that position by fixing a stabilizing steel plate to the cutting side. This will readjust the knees so that the load can now be placed on the less worn parts of the joints.

Currently, doctors use "ready-made" steel plates that do not fully match the patient's tibial contour. This means it takes some time to select the bone plate, then place it on the bone and screw it in place. Nevertheless, the resulting knee joint adjustments may not fully meet the requirements.

In the experimental new knee alignment osteotomy (TOKA) surgery developed by the University of Bath in the UK, doctors first perform 3D CT scans of the patient's tibia and knee. Using this data, they then 3D printed a titanium alloy plate with a shape that perfectly matched the patient's tibia. They also printed a patient specific fixture for guiding the placement of the board.

According to the university, TOKA should lead to better knee alignment, increased joint stability, and reduced patient discomfort. In addition, by preparing everything in advance, the duration of the surgery itself should be reduced from two hours to approximately 30 minutes.

In an ongoing trial at the Rizzoli Institute in Italy, 25 patients have undergone the surgery so far. The plan calls for trials to begin in the UK later this year, involving hospitals in Bath, Bristol, Exeter, and Cardiff.