Build Your Own 3D Knee

ATLANTA (Ivanhoe Newswire) – More than 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are done in the United States every year, and as baby boomers continue to age, some say that figure will grow to one million within the next decade. More patients are choosing an option that allows doctors to build their patient’s knees.

Less than a year ago, climbing up a flight of stairs would have been impossible for Amanda Fair-Evans, 48.

Fair-Evans told Ivanhoe, “I couldn’t even get out of the car and I was like, what is this?”

The pain in her left knee was unbearable.  She tried medication and cortisone shots and finally begged her doctor for surgery.

Fair-Evans said, “I have no quality of life. I have grandkids and I want to play with my grandkids. Please give me a new knee.”

Mathew Pombo, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center in Atlanta, Georgia, felt Fair-Evans would be a great candidate for a personalized replacement knee.

A standing CT scan of a patient’s leg captures the alignment, followed by a three-dimensional printing process.

“We can input components into the computer and print off a specific femur and a specific tibia that fits the bone perfectly,” explained Dr. Pombo.

It takes about six weeks for a medical company to create the custom knee. During surgery, doctors remove the damaged joint. Then using individually designed tools, surgeons insert the new joint and cement it in.

Dr. Pombo said, “It’s basically like putting a train on perfectly aligned train tracks. It should wear better.”

Five months later, Fair-Evans had her other knee replaced. Now she’s back to doing the things she loves to do.

Fair-Evans said she loves “Taking long walks, playing with my grandkids and dancing. I haven’t danced in a long time.”

Dr. Pombo said there is a faster recovery, less blood loss and easier range of motion of patients having the personalized 3D knee surgery.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.