3D modeling: Customized approach to knee replacements

Denise Dador Image
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
3D modeling: Customized approach to knee replacements
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More and more people experience knee pain because of osteoarthritis. While knee surgery is often recommended, there is more than one option. Here's a closer look at a customized, 3D approach.

More and more people experience pain because of arthritis. James Morgan has been suffering with debilitating knee pain for three decades.

"I cant bend it," he said, "It feels like it's just gonna just burst."

A high school leg injury led to a slow and painful deterioration around his knee.

"It felt like knives being shoved up under the kneecap or in the joint," he said, "30 years, a lot of pain. A lot of swelling."

But Morgan didn't want to get conventional total knee replacement surgery because doctors told him it would take six to 8 weeks of recovery.

"I didn't want to miss work so I learned to deal with it," he said.

Then Morgan heard of another option that could have him back on his feet within a week. It's called the Nanoknee and it offers a highly customized approach to knee replacement.

"So total knee is a good operation. What we found over the year is that we could customize that to an individual and better match their own anatomy. We get better results," said Dr. Thomas Daniel Ferro, a Nanoknee orthopedic surgeon.

For an added cost of $7,500 that's not often covered by insurance, patients undergo Nanoknee's proprietary 3D modeling.

"We build a model of the patient's knee and perfectly match an implant and resurface what their knee used to be like," Ferro said.

This enhanced precision allows the surgeon to eliminate the most disruptive elements of knee replacement such as cutting through the muscle, ligaments and tendons.

"And preserve as much bone as we can to allow the patient to have a quick painless recovery,"Ferro said.

A big pro of a minimally invasive procedure versus traditional knee surgery is a much quicker recovery.

But, some orthopedic specialists point out that traditional knee replacement surgery has proven, long term results.

Most agree there are disadvantages and advantages to both.

As promised, an hour after surgery, Morgan was headed home.

Six days after surgery, Morgan was back on his feet working full-time.

Who's the best candidate for the Nanoknee?

"Right now this is set up for young active people. So somebody who's very low demand, or has a lot of deformity or has had a prior knee replacement is not a candidate for this," Ferro said,"We're trying to make the patient's lifestyle better the whole time. We want to make a better experience," Ferro said.