"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny!'" - Isaac Asimov
3D printing has managed to achieve just that. Cups, toys, drawings, fabric, shoes, musical instruments, working gun you name it and 3D prints it. The new entrant in 3D is the 3D Printed medical models making the life of a surgeon easy by reducing operative time, increasing precision, decreased instrumentation and increasing the joy of a patient by improving alignment, reducing postoperative pain, shorter recovery and lowers cost.
My company Cyient, does exactly that. In fact it was just recently, I was involved in the process of bringing out paper on personalized knee systems.
So when I read about Oreo and this seemingly beautiful piece of news I knew I had to write about it. On how medical technology and innovation can help give ‘people’ their life back.
So, this is the cute little story: 6 year old Canadian dog “Oreo” dislocated his left hind knee cap (patella) 3years ago in an injury due to which his patella had to be surgically removed that caused a limp in his walk. For people who have pets, you would know the pain of seeing the daily struggle of a gentle member of your household. Enter the cutting edge technology of 3D printing! After a short surgical process, Oreo got back the power to run again with a customized patella.
Here is an extract from the article on Oreo.
Due to a dislocated left hind patella, Oreo had his patella surgically removed to alleviate the pain, but it came at a cost. The mixed-breed pup suffered a lingering limp preventing him from running and playing. His veterinarian reached out to the OIC and found the answer with 3D printing with its quick production and accurate design capabilities.
By meticulous effort, a scan and design were scaled and molded to Oreo’s specific needs. Using a donated patella, a biomedical engineer converted a file from a scaled digitized copy into a CAD model. With X-rays of Oreo’s other patella, it was possible to modify the CAD design to match his femur.
Personalized systems are built on the premise that each patient is unique. They are designed very precisely to ensure that the alignment is personalized for each patient leading to reduced efforts at the time of surgery as opposed to the conventional knee systems that are standardized by various manufacturers and are approximations of patients’ knees. Therefore, additive manufacturing usage reduces the manufacturing lead time, improves alignment, decreases operative time and results in improved patient satisfaction eventually.
For Oreo, for an athlete, for a soldier, for a daughter or for a friend.
For me, the words of Martin Petrak, president of OIC, hold in them a universe of amazing hope. “In Oreo’s case, we were able to produce a custom-tailored implant in only four days including design, analysis, physical testing and manufacturing. As we move down the learning curve, it will probably be possible to produce similar implants in only a day or two.”
Life is beautiful. Isn’t it amazing how technology is enabling us keep it that way?
Keep wondering. Keep innovating.