Supercraft 3D, a healthcare-focused additive manufacturing service bureau from Bengaluru, helped surgeons from the Hosmat Hospital in Bengaluru to develop and deliver a 3D printed titanium implant of a shinbone for a teenage girl from Karnataka.
An 18-year old girl from Karnataka came to the hospital on the 12th of May and it was found out that the girl had a tumour in the knee. The doctors suggested an implant in the tibia also called the shinbone or the frontal bone below the knee that connects with the ankle.
But such operations take time and are critical as they involve implanting of an external part in the body. A lot of pre-planning goes into such operations and so the doctors decided to take the help of 3D printing technology.
Through 3D printing technology, they created a model of the bone to be operated upon and carried out extensive pre-surgical planning of the operation. Simultaneously, they decided to install a titanium implant in the bone to support the native cartilage.
Speaking about the operation, Dr Deepak Shivarathre, chief of ortho oncology, Hosmat Hospital explained, “Conventionally, such implants were made from the cartilage of a cadaver or an off-the-shelf imported implant.”
The doctors connected with Supercraft3D to provide them with a titanium 3D printed implant. The subsequent model was then 3D printed in 36 hours and delivered to the doctors.
Dr. Shivarathre continued, “The woman came to the hospital on May 12 with a tumour in the knee. We did the surgery on May 19 to fix the 3D-printed titanium disc in the tibia to support the native cartilage of the knee joint. The reconstruction wouldn’t be mechanically strong or reliable in the traditional bone graft from cadavers or the patient’s own bone.”
The 3D implant cost Rs 30,000. Dr. Shivarathre said the disc with the porous contours was made exactly to match the patient’s contours. “A part of the tibia was lost to the tumour and was replaced by the 3D printed titanium implant,” he said. “This was supported by a 7 cm 3D printed titanium metal implant too. The 3D printed model helps the surgeons understand the patient’s anatomy. The tumour had left a hole and was filled up precisely with the implant.”
Doctors chose the 3D model since off-the-shelf implants could not be tailor-made to the patient’s requirement. “But the 3D implants aren’t for routine cases,” Dr. Shivarathre clarified. “It is only for complex cases where standard implants can’t fulfil the patient’s needs.”
This is one of the many cases where 3D printing technology has helped doctors successfully carry out surgeries for complex cases. 3D printing is now used a lot for Orthopedic & Craniomaxillofacial resulting in cost savings but more importantly saving of precious time to provide relief to the patient in the shortest possible time.
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