EMMC is participating in a clinical trial that challenges the traditional standard size approach of knee implants by using 3D printing technology to create customized implants.

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No two knees are alike. In fact, there are even differences between a person’s left knee and right knee.Traditional knee implants come in a range of sizes, and doctors select the implant that best fits each patient. In contrast, patients who participate in EMMC’s clinical trial have a knee implant created just for them. A CT scan of the knee is sent to an implant manufacturer, and advanced computer technology and a three-dimensional printing process are used to create the new joint. The implant usually arrives in about six weeks, and the surgeon performs the procedure.

Like all joint replacement procedures, patients who have the implant are moving around quickly and begin therapy shortly after surgery. According to EMMC orthopedic surgeon Ian Dickey, MD, FRCSC, P. Eng (HON), by offering the clinical trial we are able to find out if there are potential benefits to having a custom knee implant.

By having the implant made exclusively for the patient, the idea is that the better it fits, the better it works,” he explains. “We believe this new approach may lead to faster recovery, less discomfort during the recovery phase, and a lower risk of infection. It may also result in less complicated surgeries that take a shorter amount of time, since the surgeon may not need to make the adjustments that have always been required to achieve proper fit.”

Cindy Kenny, a patient of Dr. Dickey, had her right knee replaced with an implant created using three-dimensional imaging technology a few weeks ago and is already impressed with her recovery.

My knee constantly ached before. After my knee replacement, I was up and walking in just two hours. I have been able to play with my grandkids again. I had been putting it off for years, but when I heard about the benefits of having a knee implant designed for my body, I decided there was no need to keep living in pain.”

Dr. Dickey will provide an overview of three-dimensional knee implants and answer questions at a free information session on December 10 at 6 pm in Bangor. To register, call or 973-9980 or visit orthopedics.emmc.org.