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Medical 3D Printing|Chinese Doctor Performed the World's First 3D Printing Partial Talus Arthroplasty

Sources from Xi’an Honghui Hospital, they have successfully performed a partial talus arthroplasty. Recently, after searching medical reports, they confirmed that this is the first partial talus arthroplasty of the world. The surgery is assisted with 3D printing technology. After collecting geometric data using the CT scan, surgeons have customized a tailored 3D printed talus partial prosthesis that uses good biocompatibility, wear-resistant and life-long property and successfully treated the patient, healing talus pain.

It's said that the patient is 45 years old. Three years ago, she had a frequent aching ankle. Her walk distance is greatly limited since then. After the hospital's diagnosis, the physician found out that the patient only had extensive avascular necrosis (AVN) at the dome of her talus. To relieve the pain of the patients, surgeons decide to perform a 3D printing partial talus arthroplasty surgery.

"We used to get the whole talus out and replace it with a new one. But it causes a bigger size of incision and more wound than a partial replacement for the patient to recovery." the director of the Department of Ankle surgery said. Choosingpartial surface talus prosthesis to replace the target bone instead of sacrificing tibial articulating surface will reserve the ligamentum around the ankle structure, thus, reserving the movability of ankle joints and prolonging the ankle life for full ankle arthroplasty or fusion of the ankle joint. This will prepare the patient long enough for a possible full ankle arthroplasty.

To ensure the surgery is successfully performed, the medical team has developed tailored osteotomy and distraction osteogenesis tools. After scanning the ankle and talus conditions with CT scan, they 3D printed the customized talus surface. They also used 3D printed models to perform multiple biomechanics experiments in simulations. The 3D printing talus surface is of titanium alloy. This titanium alloy can be transferred into the desired shape quickly by 3D printing. It also consists of good biocompatibility, wear-resistant, and longevity. Now, the patient’s back ankle joint is in good condition.

The chief of the department of science teaching in Honghui hospital in Xi’an comments that the surgery conducted has a smaller incision and higher biostability. Even if the surgery causes other issues afterward, there are still plenty of optional remedy surgeries to perform.

Surgeons hope that in the long run, 3D printing technologies can better be applied in clinical applications, making better treatment options for patients suffering from partial talus surface avascular necrosis(AVN).