Revolutionizing Surgical Interventions: The Impact of 3D-Printing Technology on Meniscus Replacement

Mr. Victory Akhimien
Published at: 21/3/2024

Revolutionizing Surgical Interventions: The Impact of 3D-Printing Technology on Meniscus Replacement

Overview of 3D-Printing and Meniscus

Advents in technology have orchestrated a revolutionary impact on surgical interventions. Over the years, 3D printing has reduced the level of trauma in surgical procedures and has created room for the customisation of a more precise implant. 3D printing involves the construction of a three-dimensional object modelled from a computer-aided design (CAD).

Meniscus tears are known to be one of the most common knee injuries that occur as a result of trauma or repetitive movement. A tear in the meniscus can cause swelling and pain leading to the development of osteoarthritis. When a patient's meniscus has deteriorated extensively, the common intervention is usually a total joint replacement. The use of 3D-printed meniscus substitutes is becoming a common method in tissue engineering.

Design and 3D-Printing of Meniscus

  • High-resolution CAT scan or MRI is used to create a 3D representation of the joint to get a specific design for a patient.
  • Modelling of different implant sizes, as well as positions and orientations of the knee.
  • Construction of a customed 3D-printed scaffold for the joint.

Merits of 3D-Printed Meniscus

  • High level of implant precision, and can easily mimic cartilage tissue.
  • Reduced period of rehabilitation.
  • Reduction in post-surgical trauma.
  • Durable over an extensive period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Does the implant feel natural? Reports from patients who have had these custom implants say that their joints feel more natural after surgery.

Q2: Is it surgically less invasive? Yes, the pain is less after surgery and the recovery time is faster

Q3: What is the recovery time for meniscus surgery? A typical meniscus repair takes approximately 6-9 months on recovery time depending on the activities of the patient. However, most procedures require between 2-4 weeks on crutches and knee brace.

Q4: What happens when a torn meniscus is removed? In the event of an extremely damaged meniscus, the surgeon may need to remove your meniscus. This can leave your joints with no cushion and makes the tibia and femur rub against each other. This can eventually lead to arthritis.

Q5: What are the long-term effects of meniscus surgery? Several long-term effects might occur after a meniscus surgery such as knee pain, osteoarthritis, re-injury, inadequate rehabilitation, and spontaneous osteonecrosis. You must talk to your healthcare provider if faced with any of these post-surgical effects.

Q6: Are the 3D-Printed implants durable? Yes, These are made of tough leathery material consisting of fibro-cartilage which is a mixture of collagen fibres, elastin, and a mucopolysaccharide called chondroitin sulphate. It is very durable and lasts over an extensive period.

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