3D image printing seems to be changing healthcare forever. A Massachusetts based medical device company, ConforMis is breaking ground in knee replacement surgery.
The ConforMIS image-to-implant technology utilizes standard CTscan data and creates a 3D model of a patient’s knee. From that model, patient-specific implants and instrumentation are designed and manufactured. The technology, called iFit (the ‘i’ standing for individualized), ConforMIS creates implants that are made specifically for you.
There are two steps that are taken for ConforMIS to transform imaging data into patiient-specific implants, iFit technology which converts CT data into implants precisely sized and shaped to conform to the uniique 3D structure of your joint, and iJig Instrumentation which uses the same data to create cutting and placement guides that help the surgeon deternine the exact placement of your implant. This reduces surgical time and minimizes the amount of bone cutting required. The development could also help avoid complications that often follow the procedure, such as pain arising from the instability of the joint.
Knee replacement surgery is a procedure undertaken by around 700,000 people annually. Just think of how many people could benefit from this new technology. Mary Cowles, a knee replacement recipient compared the new ConforMIS implant to a traditional replacement she had back in 2001 says “less time in the hospital, physical therapy was much easier, and no visible scar. All in all, in our opinion…..a winner.