Florida doctor creates 3D-printed knee replacement parts

You may possibly know someone who has needed a knee replacement or someone who is dealing with some knee issues.

Bill Eggert is certainly no stranger to knee replacement surgery.  Eleven years ago, he had his left knee replaced.  Then, earlier this year, it was his right knee that helped blaze a trail when a Florida doctor used a 3D Printer for this knee replacement procedure.

"They take a CT scan of knee,  and then 3D print person's anatomy, so they can custom make an implant," explains Dr. John Williams, of the Advanced Orthopedic Institute in The Villages. 

Dr. Williams says he has used this new cutting-edge technology by company Conformis about 100 times now.
He says the difference when using a 3D printer to print an precise,custom-fitted implant speeds up recovery time, decreases pain, enhances range of motion, and likely increases the life of the replacement.

"The Confirmis knee is very bone conservative, which means we take very little bone.  It is also soft-tissue sparing, which means we don't open up the knee as much as we do for traditional knees," he says.

Eggert says, "I played golf for the first time at six weeks post-surgery, and that's incredible!"

Eggert says it took him three months to get on the course with his last knee surgery.  And as for pain?

"I actually was up walking around with a walker in the hospital at 4 a.m. following the day of surgery.  I couldn't believe it!  I felt so good!"

Dr. Williams says the cost for these 3D custom knees is the same as the so-called "off-the-shelf" knee, but you have to find a doctor like Dr. Williams who has access to a 3D printer.