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3D Printed Knee Joint - J Group Robotics

April 20, 2016

We’ve grown used to the idea that 3D printing reserves great promises for the field of medical science. However, every advance is still enthusiastic as it promises even greater future discoveries. From orthotics to organs, a flurry of research activity brings news from the frontiers of modern medicine and has quickened the pace of discoveries that previously would have been decades apart.

 

One of the latest developments at J Group Robotics, 3D Printing wing is in the area of knee-joint replacement. Currently, there are only a very limited number of ways to address the issue of joint pain, with joint replacement surgery being used only as a desperate last measure. With arthritis and joint pain being a very common cause of disability in India it has become clear that this is an area that requires more significant attention.

Artificial joints have been traditionally made with a variety of plastics and metals, materials that are made using casts which is not accurate and this causes a lot of confusion for the doctors. In addition to the materials themselves break down after 10 to 20 days of use and the proto type can become non-functional even sooner. In other words, case studies in the field of  joints is not still far away from absolute replicas as currently produced do not provide a viable long-term solution from the cast makers or even RPD manufacturers.

In keeping with the large population impacted by joint pain, Vaibhav Jariwala from J Group Robotics is working towards this issue directly. Using Dimension Dual Delta XL, he printed the following knee joint which is currently being studied to come up with a resolution for the target patient :

“This is a real meeting of minds, J Group Robotics uses 3D Scanned images rectified with high resolution 3D images to print the parts. It is then studied to understand the need and the treatment required for the patient. Accuracy and precision in terms of shape is size is highly recommendable.”

The 3D printing process begins with the taking of X-rays of the patient’s damaged joint. The data gathered in the X-rays in converted into a 3 dimensional computer model that can be sent directly to the printer.

These treatments are now being introduced as full-fledged methods available as methods for addressing cases in which patients need joint replacement surgeries. A great deal of study and evaluation must be undertaken in order to prepare the procedure for its first phase of clinical trials. The team anticipates that the procedure will be ready for testing in human patients in the next several years. The research team is very optimistic about the future of 3D printing in the creation of artificial joints:

What do you think?  Will this be the future of joint replacement surgery?  Let’s hear your opinion in the comments section.

 

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