Implants Designed to Fit Patients' Unique Anatomy
What if a knee implant could be designed specifically for every individual, taking into consideration each person’s unique anatomy? Ian Dickey, MD, FRCSC, a surgeon at EMMC Orthopedic Surgical Specialists, is the local principal investigator for a clinical trial that’s testing this idea, and EMMC’s patients may benefit most from the project.
“Having the right knee implant is a key to ensuring a successful knee replacement surgery,” says Dr. Dickey. “Traditionally, we have matched patients with the best type of implant based on the person’s age, weight, lifestyle, anatomy, and the surgeon’s experience. We have been limited by what the manufacturers have offered. But no two people are exactly alike. Now, patients who participate in this trial will not be limited by the existing choices – we can have custom-made implants created for just for them.”
The trial, called ConforMIS, explores whether this new approach to creating implants can lead to faster recovery, less discomfort during the recovery phase, and a lower risk of infection. According to Dr. Dickey, since the implant is designed to fit perfectly in the space it will occupy in the patient’s body, it may cause less irritation of the surrounding muscles and tendons. It also could result in less complicated surgeries that take less time, since the orthopedic surgeon may not need to make the adjustments that have always been required to achieve proper fit.
Patients who participate begin by getting a CT scan of the knee. The manufacturer receives the images and creates the implant using advanced computer technology and a three-dimensional printing process. The implant usually arrives in about four weeks, and the surgeon performs the procedure. Like all joint replacement procedures, patients who have the ConforMIS implant are moving around quickly and begin therapy quickly after surgery.
“The ConforMIS implant may be a good option for many people in their 50s and perhaps early 60s,” adds Dr. Dickey. “Like with any medical procedure, there are risks and benefits, and we take time to discuss the pros and cons with our patients and work to find the best solution for every individual.”
To find out more about the ConforMIS trial, please call EMMC Clinical Research at (207)973-4263, and for more information about EMMC Orthopedic Surgical Specialists, please call 207.973.9980.