Patient-specific knee care
Dr. Saskia Boekhorst is an orthopedic surgeon with patient-centric mindset who works at the Orthoparc clinic. Inspired by her previous clinical experience, she started implementing 3D-printed patient-specific knee guides in her surgeries. Together with her team, she is always looking for ways to improve the process so as to perform the knee surgery even more efficiently and accurately.
3 compelling reasons to use 3D-printed patient-specific surgical guides
Dr. Boekhorst makes a convincing case for using patient specific instrumentation. First, the alignment of knee arthroplasty a surgeon can attain is very precise. “The first one hundred cases I’ve double checked by manual measurements, because it was a different approach and I am very careful. But after seeing very nice and consistent results, I became convinced,” she says.
The second reason goes hand-in-hand with the first. Using patient-specific knee guides makes the surgery less invasive for the patient. Dr. Boekhorst explains, “There’s no need to drill into the femur canal. The conventional alignment is done with an intramedullary rod into the femur canal. Knee guides keep the intramedullary space intact.”
Finally, the surgical procedures are faster, given the fact you don’t have to make measurements during the surgery. “The positioning and alignment are already done by me within an interactive planning software in which I can rotate the knee in all directions and see how the prosthesis could be placed for a particular patient. You will never be able to see this in all these dimensions and directions with a real patient because of soft tissue,” says Dr. Boekhorst.
What other benefits are there to patient-specific knee guides?
This time benefit combined with the ease of use of these guides also means that gentler anesthesia products and painkillers can be used on patients. According to Dr. Boekhorst, a reduction in surgical time also may decrease the risk of infections, and made it possible to increase the number of surgeries per day.
The procedure can be performed in less procedure steps, which also means that less surgical instruments and trays are necessary. “This is a great upside of this technique. You don’t need measurement tools and a prosthesis of each size to test, so you don’t need to keep them sterile.” Moreover, the knee guides come in a comprehensive ‘knee in the box’ package that includes all the necessary instrumentation and two sizes of preselected implants to treat a single patient. The reduced number of sets necessary, and having less instruments to sterilize and to store inhouse, are all factors that lower the overhead and logistics costs, and the risk of unsterile instruments and procedures.
Knee-deep in benefits
According to Dr. Boekhorst, it is important to keep an open mind for accepting new approaches and implementing innovative technology into your daily clinical practice to improve patient outcome. The benefits are clearly there: less invasive surgery, shorter spinal anesthesia, milder pain medication, faster recovery for patients, better alignment, and less operative time leading to more surgeries per day. Thanks to a dedicated patient-centric team and the multi-facetted benefits associated with patient-specific knee guides, constantly improving efficiency and accuracy has become an integral practice, both inside and outside the operating room.
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