3D-printed prosthetics opens new door for reconstructing bone defects

Scientists in China evaluated the effectiveness of 3D-printed prosthetics as a custom knee-joint replacement prosthesis.

Bone tumors develop when cells in the bone divide without control, forming a mass of invasive tissue. Malignant bone tumors have a higher chance of spreading beyond the site where they initially develop. They mainly occur around the knee and in the metaphysis of long bones such as the proximal femur, proximal tibia, and distal radius. Most bone tumors occur in teenagers, affecting two or three people per million population a year.

Bone tumors are usually treated with surgery, followed by a reconstruction of bony defects using techniques such as distraction osteogenesis, intercalary allografting, fibular grafting, and prosthetic replacement. The current prosthesis is usually made of rigid materials with poor surface bioactivity, potentially leading to implant infection, inflammation, dislocation, and rejection.

3D printing produces custom prosthetics

In a recent study published in World Journal of Surgical Oncology, a group of medical experts from West China Hospital used 3D printing to create an uncemented prosthesis to improve the degree of matching between the implant device and bone defected region. The scientists used titanium alloys at the core part to provide strong mechanical strength while the stem of the distal part was coated with sophisticated porous bioceramics for better bone-impact integration. Under optimal conditions, the scientists found that the porous structure with 600μm pore size and 65% porosity could simulate the properties of human trabecular structures.

3D-printed prosthetics were well-tolerated

The scientists continued to investigate the performance of 3D-printed prosthetics in a human subject. A 15-year-old boy with tibia bone tumor tolerated the prosthesis implantation well. After 26 months of implantation, the prosthesis fitted well with the tibia, and no signs of complications were found. The recovered knee-joint functions were satisfactory with a knee joint motion of 0-130° and an Enneking function score of 93%, which were comparable to the normal range of knee joint motion. The patient was able to walk, run, and even jump without any pain.

By Man-tik Choy, Ph.D. | Medical News Bulletin 

Image Credit: Man-tik Choy, Ph.D./Medical News Bulletin


About Peter Coffaro 658 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by MedReps.com and the World Journal of Orthopedics as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager, Distributor and Vice President. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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