Picture this. It’s morning. A patient walks in a clinic, experiencing knee pain at every step. That same day, the same patient walks home, without the pain from before. The patient just had a total knee replacement operation.
This scenario already exists in Orthoparc in the Netherlands. A clinic using an innovative patient-centric framework in which patients get all the attention. The multidisciplinary clinical team works using a one-day care concept made possible by minimizing anesthesia, surgical time, optimized nutrition programs, and physiotherapy starting immediately after surgery. Therapists are encouraged to empower patients to be mobile, and to make sure there’s minimal fear of resuming daily activities.
The key to running such a smooth operation is having a motivated team and a highly efficient process which is optimized in every manner. It’s all part of the team effort. As for the process, each step is executed in the shortest time possible while delivering a high-quality outcome and maximizing the patient’s experience by using innovative tools, including patient-specific surgical guides.
Patient-specific knee care
Dr. Saskia Boekhorst is an orthopedic surgeon with patient-centric mindset who works at the Orthoparc clinic. Inspired by her previous clinical experience, she started implementing 3D-printed patient-specific knee guides in her surgeries. Together with her team, she is always looking for ways to improve the process so as to perform the knee surgery even more efficiently and accurately.
“I’m a big fan of the patient-specific knee guides because this technology allows me to place the components of the knee arthroplasty exactly in the right axis of the leg in all dimensions.” – Dr. Saskia Boekhorst
3 compelling reasons to use 3D-printed patient-specific surgical guides
Dr. Boekhorst makes a convincing case for using patient specific instrumentation. First, the alignment of knee arthroplasty a surgeon can attain is very precise. “The first one hundred cases I’ve double checked by manual measurements, because it was a different approach and I am very careful. But after seeing very nice and consistent results, I became convinced,” she says.
The second reason goes hand-in-hand with the first. Using patient-specific knee guides makes the surgery less invasive for the patient. Dr. Boekhorst explains, “There’s no need to drill into the femur canal. The conventional alignment is done with an intramedullary rod into the femur canal. Knee guides keep the intramedullary space intact.”
Finally, the surgical procedures are faster, given the fact you don’t have to make measurements during the surgery. “The positioning and alignment are already done by me within an interactive planning software in which I can rotate the knee in all directions and see how the prosthesis could be placed for a particular patient. You will never be able to see this in all these dimensions and directions with a real patient because of soft tissue,” says Dr. Boekhorst.
Image Credit: Marta Sambaer / Materialise