people may understand
the 3D printer make
r Stratasys as the corporate behemoth that
took over MakerBot back in 2013 (Thanks, Print the Legend), their positive influence on the medical and dental industry can not be denied. Over the past couple of years, Stratasys has placed a keen focus on improving the cost and quality of traditional medical tools. From the release of their dental-driven Objet 3D printers to supplying surgeons with realistic heart models to help patients’ lives, Stratasys has certainly turn it intod
it a mission to innovate the medical and dental industry with 3D printing technology.
Now, Stratasys has collaborated with a new medical company called DanaMed in order to turn it into a 3D printed tool that
may change the face of ACL knee reconstruction surgery. A torn ACL, that has caused the end of many
a pro athlete’s career, has generally been repaired with the straight-forward, yet error-prone ‘transtibial technique’. While this is the many implemented type of ACL repair, there are obvious disadvantages, such as the difficulty of accurately placing the surgical graft inside the natural ACL point. In order to refine this traditional technique, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dana Piasecki turned to Stratasys and their 3D printing technology to help develop a additional successful tool for ACL reconstruction surgery.
Thus, DanaMed (Dr. Piasecki’s medical company) created the Pathfinder, a tool that
will allow for much additional flexibility and accuracy in ACL reconstruction surgery. After creating the initially iteration of the surgical tool from plastic and testing it on anatomical models, Dr. Piasecki was directed to Stratasys Direct Manufacturing’s Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), where the Pathfinder was produced in the biocompatible and mechanically sound Inconel 718 alloy. By utilizing Stratasys’ in-house DMLS systems, DanaMed was able-bodied to make
the tool’s intricate geometry, while keeping the production cost low.
“Pathfinder illustrates how 3D printing is uniquely capable-bodied of enabling breakthroughs in medical technology that
otherwise would not be possible,”said John Self, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing’s project engineer. “And by offering DanaMed 97 percent cost savings over conventional manufacturing methods, 3D printing has demonstrated its business value in delivering
complex, high-quality parts to market.”
DanaMed is a new venture by Dr. Piasecki and his team, keeping the production cost low was an important factor in the manufacturing of the Pathfinder tool. But the quality of the tool is what makes it a true breakthrough. Although the Pathfinder will require
a couple of years to fully integrate itself into the medical field, the resulting surgery technique is may already
being said to be much easier to perform and has may already
boasted a 95% success rate thus far. “This surgical tool has turned our vision of transforming ACL reconstruction into a reality faster and someday will hopefully eliminate repeat knee injuries to keep additional athletes off the bench and on the field,”said Dr. Piasecki.