Local Health Alert: 3D Printing Helps Treat Knee Pain

Local News

3D printing technology is now putting some Mid-south patients back on their feet after excruciating knee pain.

Gail Blayde, of Whitehaven says her issues became debilitating. On a cruise to the Bahamas with her husband, she had to opt out of daily excursions because she couldn’t bear the walking involved.

“I just had to let him go, say you go! I can’t do it,” Blayde explains.

Dr. Peter Lindy, an orthopedic surgeon with East Memphis Orthopedic says Blayde was facing the pain that lead many patients to his office. “She was having to cancel plans, not being able to make plans. So, she was very uncomfortable.”

X-rays showed the root cause for Blayde. She was walking bone to bone. “Her cartilage was gone,” explains Dr. Lindy. Blayde opted for a custom knee replacement for both knees.

“My birthday is August the 8th, the second one was done on my birthday,” she says. That’s just weeks after the first surgery in June. 

“When I went back for my two-week check up with Doctor Lindy, I was going like hey, I’m ready for the next one!'” Blayde explains the pain was manageable and the recovery, far easier than she anticipated.

Conformis designs and manufactures the custom-made implants that are specific to each patient. Dr. Lindy likens it to a men’s suit design. “You can buy a suit off the rack that fits you pretty good and you look darn good in it. If you buy a suit that’s custom fit, it’s going to be tailor fitted to you, only. You are going to look as well in that suit as you can.”

He says when it comes to fashion, people often are hindered by the price tag, but in this case the cost is the same for patients. Other replacement options include limited sized models, that are used for any patient.

In the case of Conformis implants, a CT scan is used to create a 3D model of the patient’s knee in its diseased state. The model is restored on the computer, and a 3D print is converted into an implant for surgery with the exact dimensions for the patient.

Seven months later, Blayde says she’s back on her feet without pain and walking up and down stairs with ease. “I feel that I can walk a mile, again!” She says she’s even ready to plan the next cruise.


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