3D printing has started to make a big impact in healthcare in recent times. Right from the development of 3D printed prosthetic eyes to 3D printed models which surgeons can study; this technology has shown a huge progress. One of the major applications of 3D printing in the medical sector has been the introduction of 3D printed blood vessels. The latest application to make its entry in the medical sector is 3D printed prosthetic shoulder. For the first time in the Netherlands, a patient is going to receive a 3D Printed Prosthetic Shoulder.
How will it Work?
In Leiderdorp, at the Rijnland Hospital, a patient is going to receive glenoid cavity prosthesis and a 3D printed Prosthetic shoulder. The surgery will be conducted by Dr. Cornelis Visser, an orthopedic surgeon. As per theory, this prosthesis should let patients get the full range of motion back in their shoulders after the surgery.
Dr Visser explained how the process is carried out to implant a 3D printed prosthetic Shoulder. “A few weeks before the operation, we take a CT scan of the shoulder of the patient. This produces a 3D image. From this image, the optimum position of the prosthesis is determined, and a custom-made mold is printed in the United States. Previously, the position of the prosthesis was only determined during the operation, by the naked eye. Now I use this unique (3D printed) mold. This allows me to connect to the unique anatomy of the patient, by using the entire prosthesis.”
Why opt for 3D Printed Prosthetic Shoulder?
With 3D printing, doctors are able to create customized prosthesis for each patient so that they fit with his/her anatomy almost perfectly.
Once the surgery for implanting the 3D printed Prosthetic shoulder is over, the new shoulder of the patient should feel more natural when compared to the conventional shoulder replacements that were used earlier. It is supposed to move in a better way when the patient moves the shoulder and the joint should face an equal distribution of force. It is assumed that due to this equal distribution of force, the 3D prosthesis should have greater durability than conventional replacements. When it comes to medical prostheses, 3D printing is still new. So, there is no data yet which can confirm its advantage over the traditional replacements.
What do you think?
Do you think 3D printed Prosthetic shoulders will be helpful for patients? What other applications of 3D printing in the medical sector do you find to be useful? Look forward to your insights in the comments below.
Image Source – www.3dprint-uk.co.uk