3D imaging technique is the latest addition to the imaging technology where an object can be replicated not just on the X and Y axes but also over the Z-axis creating a perfect 3-dimensional replica. And soon after its invention, 3D imaging technology found its valuable applications in the medical field for scanning, recreating, and replacing various body parts, commonly known as additive manufacturing.
3D knee replacement surgery, also known as the 3D Knee Technique is one of the accomplishments of this technology.
● In the process of 3D imaging for knee replacement surgery, the surgeon first recreates the patient’s knee as a 3D image using a CT scan.
● This image provides the exact dimensions and volume of the different parts of the knee. It also shows the precise locations where the parts are damaged and where the implant is to be fitted.
● Based on this 3D image, an accurate replica implant of these parts is printed using different materials such as metals, high-grade plastic, ceramic, or various suitable combinations of these.
● Now, with the implant parts and the 3D image in hand, the surgeon pre-plans the surgical procedure and the resources that would be required.
● Finally, the 3D image implant is surgically replaced with the damaged knee or its parts with as minimal invasion as possible.
Benefits of 3D Knee Technique Over Traditional & robotic Knee Replacement Technique:
● 3D knee replacement technique is proven to be more accurate and effective than any other surgical technique.
● As the surgical procedures and implants are reviewed way before the surgery, the operation takes minimum time for execution and ultimately reduces any risks of infection.
● 3D implants are designed by several manufacturers today. This gives patients and surgeons the freedom to compare the same implant type from different companies and find the best fit for every individual patient’s bone structure.
● It makes the surgery more patient-oriented as the implants can be customized as per the patient’s desire and can be reviewed before the surgery.
● 3D technique implants can be fixed into the bone structure without cutting or drilling the surrounding bones, which also eliminates the chances of fat embolism.
● This 3D knee imaging technique is more affordable as compared to other robotic knee replacement surgeries.
Current & Future Applications of 3D Knee Technique
3D Total Knee Replacement (3D TKR):
● The 3D technique is now the most popular way of conducting a TKR as it provides the precise size, shape, and volume of individual knees.
● As replacing the entire knee involves a lot of risks, the 3D technique implant can be reviewed and discussed with multiple surgeons to derive the best solution.
● Total knee replacement using 3D technique is more affordable, and as the surgery becomes less invasive, it ultimately takes less time to heal.
3D Cartilage Replacement:
● A 3D image cartilage saves the patient from the invasive surgeries and from having the entire knee replaced.
● The material used for designing the cartilage implant is created by mixing two types of hydrogels. Some amount of clay is also added to support the process.
● This 3D image cartilage is not a biocompatible material for the moment, but it can be developed to be so, in the upcoming years.
3D Knee Alignment Technique:
● In the cases of knee damage due to arthritis, accident or genetics, 3D Knee alignment plays a significant role today.
● With the help of the 3D images produced via CT scan, surgeons can devise guides and smaller implants to fit the morphology of the patient’s knee joint.
● This way, surgeries like osteotomy can be performed without harming other bones and prevent complications which might lead to TKR.
Sai Shree Hospital for Special Surgery is one of the very few Orthopaedic hospitals in Pune who employ 3D technique for Knee replacement surgeries. You can visit their website to find out about the various orthopaedic and other state-of-the-art treatments provided by their team.