Custom 3D-printed Knee Implant could Provide Relief for Large Population of Arthritis Sufferers, says research


A breakthrough development for knee arthritis based on 3D printed implants could bring relief for tens of thousands of individuals suffering from the condition. The treatment has received approvals for trials on patients in the UK, following a remote ‘in-silico’ trial to demonstrate its safety.

The early knee osteoarthritis treatment, which is unique for each patient, is developed by engineers at the Center for Therapeutic Innovation, University of Bath. It uses states-of-the-art 3D metal printing technology to fabricate personalized titanium alloy plates of medical grade to perfectly fit the patient it is made for.

Importantly, the treatment improves operative procedure and the fit of high-tibial osteotomy plates used to realign the patient’s knee is such to make them more stable, improved ability to withstand weight, and are comfortable than existing generic plates. In fact, the technique also simplifies high-tibial osteotomy surgery, thus making surgical procedures quicker and safer.

Meanwhile, high-tibial osteotomy plates have been tested remotely using a computer-based trial for CT scan data of 28 patients.

Furthermore, in terms of effectiveness of the treatment, in-silico clinical trial is the world’s first to demonstrate the safety of an orthopedic device. The treatment modeled the stress that bespoke plates would need to withstand, and showed that these plates would be comparable to the standard treatment in terms of safety.

Knee osteoarthritis is one of the major health, social, and economic issues that does not receive much attention as it should. Statistically, one-fourth women above the age of 45, and about 15 percent men, which is a significant burden for individuals to live with.

Clinically, knee replacement is useful only for end-stage osteoarthritis.

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