3D printing is already being used to create customised orthopaedic implants for joint replacement surgery. Now, further technological advances are offering a glimpse into the future of orthopaedics whereby synthetic implants could be populated with a patient’s own cells to encourage tissue regeneration.
Traditional printing involves laying down an image onto a flat surface. By contrast, 3D printing deposits materials – plastic, metal, ceramic, powders, liquids or even living cells – in layers to create a three-dimensional object. It has been around for nearly three decades but how is it now transforming healthcare?
In the past, surgeons selected “off-the-shelf” knee implants from a range of prefabricated, standard, fixed models. Now, few things epitomise the wonders of modern surgery like customised knee implants, created using 3D printing. Are you considering knee replacement surgery – are you aware of your options?