Medicine has come a long way in the past ten years, and orthopaedics is no exception. Today, 3-D printing is nearing the field of orthopaedic surgery , and bone mix patients are reaping the greatest benefits.

Four years ago, orthopaedic surgeons such as myself were introduced to state-of-the-art technology known as the Nexxt Matrixx, produced by Nexxt Spine. Nexxt Matrixx is a porous, bioactive 3-D published titanium that is revolutionizing spinal fusion by providing more versatility and encouraging bone growth post-surgery.

What’s 3-D printing?

If you have watched your inkjet printer spray layer after layer of colour, you have already got a great grasp of the 3-D printing process. As opposed to spraying ink, then the 3-D printer sprays metallic debris that is activated by a laser. As a lathe can be used to remove parts of wood in a carving, the printer strips away metal to create the desired shape. The scientific community calls for the process “additive technologies,” but we call it a game changer in orthopaedics.

The Significance of 3-D technologies

The history of hip replacements helps us better appreciate the value of 3-D technologies. From the surgery’s early days, numerous hip failures were due to cement breaking loose after replacement. As time went on, surgeons began to comprehend the requirement of a rough surface in encouraging adhesion. Without a cement, the bone also could continue to grow, which enhanced longevity and outcomes. Higher surface porosity and mobility became the Holy Grail for orthopaedic surgeons, and also non-cemented hips became regular care. In spinal operation, the longstanding goal has been to perform spinal fusion with no bone graft, which makes it possible for patients to recover faster with less pain.

Growing in spinal spacers

3-D-printed spinal spacers are the most recent innovation in spinal fusion, with a handful of manufacturers currently competing with the marketplace. The cohesive spacers appear to have an unbelievable affinity for bone, so as a result of elevated levels of porosity never attained till now. A porous spacer enables the bone to develop throughout the 3-D matrix rather than restricting bone growth, as was common in earlier spacers. Porosity also makes it possible for the body’s natural influx of hormones, proteins and stem cells to accomplish the operation site, which promotes healing. Since the bone heals and develops, the 3-D spacer stays visible under X-ray and stays compatible with MRI and CT scans, which is remarkably critical for spinal operation.

The future of 3-D printing

While in its infancy, 3-D technologies has established us light years ahead of medication’s abilities only a decade back. Technology has started to fully revolutionize all aspects of health care. Today, 3-D products are used to replicate everything from kidneys to cartilage, prosthetic components to heart valves. In orthopaedics, researchers have been expecting big benefits in an area known as bone-forming creation, which can be anticipated to improve bone growth. There’s never been a more promising time for orthopaedic surgeons or patients.

Michael McNamara, M.D., is now a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon in the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, located at Williamson Medical Center. Dr. McNamara specializes in spinal surgery and was one of the very first in the state to execute the Nexxt Matrixx 3-D published spinal spacer. His office may be reached in 615-791-2630.

Members of this editorial and news staff of the USA Today Network weren’t involved in the creation of this content.

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Story By Williamson Medical Center: 3-D printing: A match changer for patients and surgeons

New 3-D printing technologies is making it possible to attain improved outcomes with spinal operation.


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