Personalized medicine is revolutionizing healthcare, and orthopaedics is no exception.
Orthopaedic surgeon William Kurtz, MD, said the “one size fits all” approach to joint replacement would soon be a thing of the past. “Individualized implants mean attaining a 3D bone scan, taking 3,000-4,000 data points that make up surface anatomy, and building the implant to match,” Kurtz explained. “Everything’s made to the shape of the patient’s bone before arthritis, according to their normal anatomy.”
A Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance physician who is on the medical staff at Saint Thomas Midtown, Saint Thomas West, and TriStar Centennial Medical Center, Kurtz is among a handful of Middle Tennessee surgeons now implanting ConforMIS customized knee implants, and he currently sits on the company’s surgical advisory board. An active researcher, Kurtz presented a poster – Patient-Specific Knee Replacement Implants Preserve Bone and Decrease Blood Loss & Swelling – at the 2013 British Association for the Surgery of the Knee (BASK) annual meeting.
Not only is the implant specific to an individual patient, it also comes with custom-made tools to help facilitate bone cuts and set implants. The entire pack comes shipped in a box the size of a carry-on suitcase and contains everything needed for each surgical case.
“Traditional joint replacement requires five to six trays of instruments and loads of equipment and inventory to service every patient,” Kurtz said. “The customized approached uses CT scans taken ahead of time, and everything we’re using is the perfect size for that one patient. I know I have the right implant.”
Patients appreciate a shorter surgery (roughly 15 minutes faster), one-third less blood loss, and a new knee that moves like their own. Hospitals ultimately decrease the cost of care by lowering surgical times and behind-the-scenes equipment processing and sterilization. “There’s a ton of research behind it,” Kurtz said. “From a design perspective, it just makes sense that if you restore a joint to its natural anatomy, it will work better than new anatomy that doesn’t reflect what the patient had before.”