Article

When the 3D Printed Talus comes to your aid

  • Nimish Sany
  • 10 May , 2016

Technology succeeds when it is used for making the world a better place. What if it can make someone’s life better? The 3D printed Talus is one of the 3D printed implants that could come as an aid to those ailing from leg injuries.

Pic courtesy: medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com

Talus is an integral part of the ankle that connects the Tibia or the leg bone with the foot one. Talus articulates these bones and help in distributing the load between those. Talus lacks from a good supply of bad and hence when injured it could takes months to heal. Most injuries to the talus lead to avascular necrosis (AVN), a condition which leaves the talus bone dead or defunct. This could mean immobility for many patients.

In most cases, the only treatment possible is coalescing the Calcaneus or the heel bone to the Tibia (leg bone). This would however restrict the ankle from movement and leave a void in the space of talus, thus resulting in an immobile foot.

The only seemingly effective cure seems to be a talus implant that could allow lateral and longitudinal movement which is otherwise impossible with fusing the tibia and Calcaneus bones. Dimensions of the talus bone differs from person to person; and a tailor made 3D printed talus implant seems to be an ideal solution as it is difficult to find matching specimen. A CAT scan is employed to scan the talus bone dimensions and the scan images will be transformed to designs in 3D printing software. Several prototypes will be made to choose the one that ultimately fits the dimensions and once fixed will act as the base model for a chrome and cobalt implant.

An injured talus can cause a lot of pain during the treatment process as efforts to move the ankle would result in the surrounding bones raking the injured bone.  An implant offers a less painful healing process and allows the patient to retrieve complete mobility.

”I’ve been practicing orthopedic surgery of the foot and ankle for 32 years and it is rare that something like this comes along that help patients in this way” says Dr. Mark Myerson from The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy, Baltimore.

Author

Nimish Sany: I bleed my thoughts on paper. And if I cant find a paper, blogs serve the purpose just fine.

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