3D Printing in Orthopaedics

Several newspaper reports have recently highlighted the use of 3D printing technologies in Orthopaedics (Telegraph 8th December 2012).

This technology has enabled manufacture of “patient specific” instruments (custom made implants). A scan of the patients knee is made into a 3D representation with computer assisted design. The instruments are then made to fit the individual knee (bespoke) by utilising 3D printing technology. During the operation the specific instruments can be positioned by matching them to the patients bone and locking them in place. This allows for better accuracy in placing the new replacement. Most of the Orthopaedic manufacturers have utilised this technology (Biomet Signature Knee)