German patient Inge W. had been afflicted with a hip malformation since her birth. Due to an extensive number of intense surgeries and revisions throughout her life, there was very little bone left in her pelvic region, leaving a large hole in the bone and making it very difficult to attach a standard hip implant. As her condition grew worse, it seemed that Inge had no other choice but to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Fortunately, she was able to walk again with the help of a patient-specific 3D-printed hip implant.
For 11-year-old Amarachi Austin-Okoh, running, jumping and even walking was a struggle. She suffered from a condition called Blount’s Disease, where the tibia, or shin bone, doesn’t grow properly, causing the legs to develop a bow shape. The disease had progressed so far in Amarachi’s case that even walking caused her great pain, and she explained that “It was very painful and hard, and, then, if people were walking a distance or something, I would start walking slower and slower, because it got harder and harder.”
FEA mesh is the practical application of the finite element method (FEM), nowadays used intensively by engineers and scientists to mathematically model and numerically solve very complex problems in a wide range of applications.
Dr. Matthew Allen, Professor of Small Animal Surgery at the University of Cambridge, was faced with a challenging case when he encountered Bella, a Romanian Bucovina shepherd dog. Bella was plagued by severe mobility problems, and her owner was initially referred to Dr. Allen to assess the feasibility of a knee replacement. However, due to the aggressive nature of a total knee replacement and the fact that the bone of Bella’s knee joint was only partly damaged, Dr. Allen tried to come up with a different approach.
A talented team of engineers at Michigan Technological University has developed a method for creating a patient-specific 3D-printed cast to treat bone fractures of the forearm and wrist. The project leverages Materialise's Lightweight Structures Module which was used to create the high porosity lattice structure of the casts. These were then 3D printed at Materialise’s production facilities for human testing.
After a car accident seven years ago, Reggie Cook was left with a variety of injuries that made him unable to walk or feed himself. He injured a major upper extremity nerve in his left arm, losing feeling and function in an otherwise normal limb, and shattered the elbow in his right arm. At this point, he approached his surgeon in El Paso, Texas, Dr. Eric Sides, with the novel idea of using the healthy but useless elbow of his left arm for an elbow transplant to replace the injured one on his right side.
For patients with early stages of osteoarthritis, high tibial osteotomy (HTO) can be a useful treatment option. In the closing-wedge version of this operation, a wedge of bone is cut out of the lateral side of the tibia, whereas with the opening-wedge osteotomy, a bone graft is inserted in a cut made on the medial side. Both realign the knee and relieve pressure from the joint. The closing-wedge technique is more common, but recently, the opening-wedge osteotomy has become more popular since it is less invasive and possibly results in less deformity of the proximal tibia.
The study of thumb movement has long been hampered by the limitations of conventional motion-capture techniques. To really get underneath the skin of the test subjects, researchers at KU Leuven Kulak turned to medical 3D imaging to view the full range of the hand’s kinematic chain, including the trapeziometacarpal, scaphotrapezial and radioscaphoid joints.
Hip disorders such as cartilage degeneration or bone fractures are common pathologies which are often treated with prosthetic surgery. Andrea Calvo-Echenique from the University of Zaragoza, Spain investigated how to prolong the lifespan of hip prostheses, and assessed the best options by comparing different stems and bearing materials. Her goals were to reduce the wear in bearing surfaces, as well as reducing the loosening of the stem, which tends to be caused by a lack of mechanical load in the bone. She received a Mimics innovation Award for the best poster submission in 2015.
Specialist spine surgeons at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool used medical 3D Printing in preparation for a life-changing surgery. The patient in question was an eight-year-old from Wales with kyphoscoliosis, a complex congenital spinal problem. The surgeons modeled and printed her spine in 3D, giving them a much better oversight for the procedure.