ConforMIS News

  • Sonntag, 3/30/14

    3D relief: Arlington man among the first to receive custom knee implants (Star-Telegram)

    Bob Dean Star-Telegram

    Even after three arthroscopic surgeries, the cartilage in Bob Dean’s knees had deteriorated to the point that even sitting still could be excruciatingly painful.

    “It was like there was ground up glass inside my knees,” Dean said. “My lifestyle was to the point where I was hardly walking. If I was going to go upstairs, I would put on a sweatshirt that had pockets so that I could carry everything up with me. You do stupid things to avoid walking 20 feet.”

    An active 60-year-old, Dean had trouble doing the simple things he loved, like walking his dog or playing basketball with his grandkids. So last summer the Arlington man looked into a double knee replacement. But instead of choosing traditional, off-the-shelf implants, Dean was among the first in the country to receive custom total knee implants designed with 3D printing technology.

    “What makes more sense? Make the human fit the appliance or make the appliance fit the human?” Dean said.

    More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed annually in the United States, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

    Traditional knee implants come in only seven sizes. Surgeons choose the one that is the closest match and then make cuts to the leg bones above and below the knee to make the implant fit.

    But using appropriately-sized implants, created from 3D mapping of the patient’s knees, reduces the amount of leg bone that needs to be removed during surgery, which means less bleeding, and also lessens a patient’s recovery time, said Dr. Bruce Bollinger, an orthopedic surgeon at the Custom Joint Center in Fort Worth who performed Dean’s surgery last summer.

    Bollinger called the custom implants, which help surgeons avoid having to make sizing compromises that can lead to pain and flexibility problems for their patients, a major improvement over the current universal knee replacement system that “universally fits no one.”

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