A Patient’s Guide to 3D Printing and Customized Foot & Ankle Surgery
"So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible." - Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Get ready… the future is here. As technology has advanced at a light-speed velocity over the last several years, new opportunities have arisen for significant advancements in orthopedic surgery. We are now standing at the ground level of a revolutionary expanse of medical technology focused on personalized solutions that is set to unlock unlimited potential in the field of medicine. Additive Manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is the next big thing and the impact will be huge.
In the past, a skilled surgeon’s approach to a complex deformity was somewhat limited to their own personal/professional training, outcomes data from the literature in dealing with similar pathology, and the use of mass produced and generic hardware provided by a multitude of orthopedic device companies who must go through an extensive amount of work to get their product line approved for use.
To create something new is both challenging and expensive with lots of hurdles in place to prove the technology is safe and effective. Even so, it is not personalized to address the needs of an individual patient or their specific deformity, but to a much broader group of patients. It can be compared to eating at a buffet versus hiring a 5-star personalized chef who can create something different each time based on your cravings at the moment. In other words, with a conventional approach the surgeon’s solution or operative plan is often limited and shaped by what type of generic solutions are already available on the market.
Customizing surgery that is patient specific is an all new approach that is used at Alexander Orthopaedic Associates, where options are no longer limited by what is already out there regarding a more generic approach that surgeons have taken in the past. Instead, a customized surgical focus is aimed at helping us create a unique and problem specific solution that is geared towards the type of deformity that we are presented with, especially in dealing with complex deformities or revisions of previously failed surgical procedures. Surgical customization allows each patient to have personalized care that was never possible in the past and marks the starting point of a whole new generation of surgical principals aimed solely at producing far better and more predictable outcomes… and the surgeons at Alexander Orthopaedic Associates are leading the way.
What is Additive Manufacturing (AM) or 3D Printing?
Data Generation (CT, MRI, 3D Scan)
The 3D Printing Process
Current Applications of Customize Patient Specific Surgery and 3D Printing at AOA
AOA 3D Printing and Customized Patient Specific Surgical Expertise
Case 1: 3D Printed Fibular Bone Defect Case (2014)
Case 2: Wright Medical Prophecy Total Ankle (Prophecy PSI)
Case 3: 3D Partial Ankle Replacement (2018)
Case 4: 3D Printed Revision Fusion Subtalar Joint with Fixation
Case 5: Exactech Vantage Total Ankle with a FlatTop Talar Design
Case 6: Total Ankle Replacement with 3D Printed Talus (STJ Fusion)
Case 7: Total Ankle Replacement w/3D Printed Talus (STJ Resurface)
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