Perfectly fitting knee joints from the 3-D printer

Although there is a wide range of standard knee prostheses, not for everyone exists an optimal solution. Models from the 3-D printer, made to fit exactly,may remedy the dilemma. Implanted sensors could help to improve aftercare.Total knee endoprosthesis or knee TEP is indicated for advanced gonarthrosis (grade III/IV). With 190,427 implantations per year (2018), it is one of the 20 most frequent operations in Germany. Although the procedure is effective, 15-20% of patients complain of pain, functional deficits and dissatisfaction postoperatively. Based on a literature analysis of 71 scientific peer-reviewed publications as well as supplementary literature and currently valid guidelines, the medical and economic potential of 3D printing was identified, transcribed to the setting of a bicondylar surface replacement for gonarthrosis and the efficiency assessed on the basis of an application-related economic consideration.
3-D printing technology takes on the role of an “enabler”, but is currently still confronted with a great need for research and clarification of legal and economic issues. For example, in addition to the definition of service relationships between operators and software engineers, legal responsibilities in the event of product defects and production errors must be defined. Long-term studies are necessary to demonstrate the medical and economic advantages of 3D printing technology with the production of individual knee endoprostheses and patient-specific instruments for the treatment of gonarthrosis compared to conventional implants and instruments. The cost reduction of the treatment of this disease caused by the use of 3D printing could contribute to a value-based medical supply.
Author(s) Source
Viktor A, Knospe J, Probst C, Müller MC Dtsch Ärztebl 2020; 117(44):A-2106 (german)
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