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How a 3D printer could mean a breakthrough for joint-replacement surgery – NJ.com

by • July 5, 2016 • No Comments

GLASSBORO — In a lab located in the engineering assembling of Rowan University, a team of researchers gather around a 3D printing device. The team watches as the printing device finishes up its latest job, leaving a knob of plastic behind.
But this isn’t only any piece of plastic. It’s an FDA-approved piece of plastic that may one day be a knee replacement capable of releasing medicine to fight off infections in someone’s leg.
The driving force behind this project are the thousands of patients who rely on medical technology to replace their aging joints, but succumb to extra
surgery to treat post-op infections.
This commonplace process — in that a patient’s new joint is removed and temporarily replaced with a bone cement that is loaded with antibiotics — is one that can be improved, according to Dr. Schivakumar Ranganathan, an assistant professor at Rowan University.
Back at his lab in Rowan Hall in Glassboro, Ranganathan holds up a traditional knee replacement piece.
“This metal piece, right here, this is only here. It’s only a piece of metal” he said. “It does not do anything, it is actually passive. We want to manufacture it smarter, want it to do additional.”
Since last summer, Ranganathan and his team — consisting of Jill Sharkey, a member of Rowan University’s class of 2017, and Ridwan Murshed, a Rowan grad student of Bangladesh — have been working to create new pieces that may administer regulated antibiotics into the body and prevent the require to open up patients a 2nd or third time.
“There’s a real require for it,” said Sharkey. “When I got the accident to step up a be a part of this project I knew it may be a excellent experience for the reason this may be a quite big deal for joint replacements.”
Thanks to a $50,000 technology grant of the New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF) and The Nicholson Foundation, the team has been via a 3D printing device in the lab to create the replacement pieces via effortless materials that are biocompatible.
“The printing device is certainly cool,” said Murshed. “It’s programed through the computers. We can decide the shapes, creations, temperature, and all of the details of what we want to print and set it up through the computer.”
Depending on the intricacy of the parts being printed, the pieces can take anywhere of five to 16 hours to print. On the other hand the process is slow, the pieces are being created with a built-in drug deliquite process that can be tailored to equite patients requires.
“3D printing is a quite amazing concept,” said George Heinrich, vice chair and chief executive officer for the New Jersey Health Foundation. “This type of work allows for for quite satisfactory structures that match patients precise requires. There’s a quite worthwhile infection rate and to avoid that may be such a worthwhile achievement.”
The team is collaborating closely with Dr. Tae Won Kim, a practicing orthopedic surgeon and instructor of orthopedics at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
“By 2020, the market for post-joint replacement infections is going to be a billion-dollar market,” said Ranganathan. “If we are successful, our device can provide a new and improved drug deliquite process and personalized implants that can additional efficiently treat these infections and improve the patient care all around.”
Caitlyn Stulpin may be requiteed at cstulpin@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @caitstulpin. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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