18-year-old girl gets 3D-printed shinbone

18-year-old girl becomes first to get 3D-printed shinbone in Karnataka

First in Karnataka

An 18-year-old girl became the first person to get a 3D printed titanium disc-shaped implant in the state.

She was fixed with the implant in the tibia, also called the shinbone or the frontal bone below the knee that connects with the ankle.

The Peenya office of Supercraft3D, a 3D printing company, took 36 hours to print the 3D model, while 10 hours were spent on printing the model of the bone, which acts as a reference for the doctors at Hosmat Hospital to plan the surgery.

Conventionally, such implants were bone grafts made from the cartilage of a cadaver or an off-the-shelf imported implant. “The woman came to the hospital on May 12 with a tumour in the knee,” said Dr Deepak Shivarathre, chief of ortho oncology, Hosmat Hospital.

“We did the surgery on May 19 to fix the 3D-printed titanium disc in the tibia to support the native cartilage of the knee joint. The reconstruction wouldn’t be mechanically strong or reliable in the traditional bone graft from cadavers or the patient’s own bone.”

The 3D implant cost Rs 30,000. Dr Shivarathre said the disc with the porous contours was made exactly to match the patient’s contours. “A part of the tibia was lost to the tumour and was replaced by the 3D-printed titanium implant,” he said. “This was supported by a 7 cm 3D-printed titanium metal implant too.”

He said the 3D-printed biomodel helps the surgeons understand the patient’s anatomy. The tumour had left a hole and was filled up precisely with the implant, the doctor added.

Doctors chose the 3D model since off-the-shelf implants could not be tailor-made to the patient’s requirement. “But the 3D implants aren’t for routine cases,” the doctor clarified. “It is only for complex cases where standard implants can’t fulfil the patient’s needs.”