July 13, 2014

From 3D-printed limbs to titanium legs and hands, 3D printing is revolutionizing the prosthetic industry. The latest news is from the Netherlands. A patient in the Rijnland Hospital in Leiderdorp will have shoulder replacement surgery next week, in which all or part of the glenohumeral joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant made using a 3D printer. It is the first time that such an operation is performed in the Netherlands.

"We made a CT scan of the shoulder a few weeks before the operation," explains Cornelis Visser, orthopedist in the Rijnland Hospital.

"The 3D images helped us to determine the optimum position of the prosthesis and a customized prosthetic implant was then printed in the U.S.. Previously, the position of the prosthesis was determined during the operation with the naked eye. Now we use unique 3D printed implant which we could connect to the anatomy of the patient naturally."

The 3D printed joint can be fitted to patient more naturally through the optimal placement. The prosthesis will allow patient to move better and the forces can be distributed like a normal joint which helps to reduce wear and prolong service life of the prosthesis.

The field of shoulder prosthesis has undergone rapid development in the last few years. The Rijnland Hospital is the first one in the Netherlands that used so-called Signature technology in the shoulder prosthesis replacement. The technique has been already used successfully in knee prostheses.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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