Personalised 3D printed knee implant could change the face of knee arthritis treatment

Tailored Osteotomy for Knee Alignment, TOKA, knee surgery, knee implant, new arthritis treatment, knee arthritis, versus arthritis, Richie Gill, arthritis digest

A ground breaking new treatment that uses 3D printed implants could revolutionise the approach we take to knee arthritis if trials go well.

Developed by engineers at the University of Bath, the personalised early knee osteoarthritis treatment uses state-of-the-art 3D metal printing technology to make personalised medical-grade titanium-alloy plates that perfectly fit every patient.

Tailored Osteotomy for Knee Alignment (TOKA) uses a bespoke implant to preserve the existing joint. It can be used at an earlier stage of arthritis, before a knee replacement is needed.

The procedure has received approval to be trialled in UK patients; trials in Italy have already begun.

The procedure

This treatment relieves the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis while preserving the natural joint.

Knee osteoarthritis patients will have a 3D CT scan of their knee, before a personalised 3D printed surgical guide and plate is created. The surgical guide simplifies the surgery, and is designed to improve surgical accuracy. Overall, the new technique will reduce time on the operating table from two hours to around 30 minutes.

“Knee replacement is only useful for end-stage osteoarthritis, so you can be in pain and have to live with a disability for a long time, potentially decades, before it’s possible,” explains Prof Richie Gill who is involved in the work that is funded by Versus Arthritis. “We hope that the new process we’ve developed will change that.”

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