The life of a professional sportsman isn’t easy, and your future can change with one quick injury. Koen, a young champion windsurfer, was suffering from a long battle with lateral compartment arthritis in his knee that left him unable to continue his athletic lifestyle. Though he had already undergone ACL reconstruction and lateral meniscectomy, they were unsuccessful at getting Koen back into the water. However, thanks to the help of specialized surgical planning tools from Materialise Koen was able to make a full recovery and get back to the sport he loved.

Reconstruction to Reduce Wear

Upon presentation to Prof. Dr. Jan Victor, orthopaedic surgeon and knee specialist at UZ Gent, Belgium, Koen’s left leg showed an obvious valgus deformity. Given his young age and indications, an osteotomy to correct the outward angulation of his leg was recommended.

Osteotomies around the knee can be difficult to perform accurately, even with a detailed surgical plan. The surgeon first needs to determine the desired angle of correction and define the mechanical axes upon which the bone will be cut and realigned. This procedure must be done with utmost precision as any degree of malalignment will cause further pain to the patient and increase wear on the weight-bearing joint. Knowing the limitations of using traditional 2D x-ray images to making an accurate surgical plan, Prof. Dr. Victor teamed up with Materialise specialists to refine his approach.  


Surgical Guides Built to Your Anatomy

Starting with CT images of Koen’s leg, Materialise generated a 3D model of Koen’s leg that allowed the surgeon to design a custom surgical plan together with the Clinical Engineer. Proper realignment of the bone to take pressure of the damaged side of the knee required a bi-planar opening and a cut at an oblique angle, a procedure that would have been almost impossible to envision and plan using only 2D x-ray images, much less perform free-handed in the operating theatre. To ensure the osteotomy could be perfomed at the precise angle needed for a successful outcome, patient-specific surgical guides were then manufactured to fit perfectly along the shape of Koen’s anatomy, taking into account the plate and instrumentation the surgeon chose to use.

Images courtesy of Prof. Jan Victor, UZ Gent, Belgium.


Giving a Man Back His Sea Legs

The custom-designed guides created by Materialise allowed Prof. Dr. Victor to perform the corrective surgery with ease. After making the cuts to the bone along the angles provided by the guides, Prof. Dr. Victor opened the wedge until the pre-drilled screw holes determined by the surgical plan matched the holes of the standard plate. The plate was then affixed to the bone to secure the new position.

The result was extremely positive. The successful collaboration restored full mobility and function to Koen’s leg, eliminating the pain and symptoms associated with his arthritis. Through the use of innovative surgical planning tools like the ones provided by Materalise, Prof. Dr. Victor is now hopeful for a future where surgeons can treat complicated cases with much more precision, and allow patients like Koen to get back to what they do best.

Images courtesy of Prof. Dr. Jan Victor, UZ Gent, Belgium.



Watch the complete process of how Prof. Dr. Victor helped a man get back on the waves using 3D technology:


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