This year, non-profits in Ukraine have been offering 3D-printed orthopedic implants to those in the country. These developments in orthopedic medicine are helping doctors cope with the influx of victims from the conflict in this region of the world.
Doesn't this demonstrate the value of advancing orthopedic technology? By continuing to push the boundary of what is possible, people are able to get help in new, more effective ways.
Whether in a war zone or your local hospital, orthopedic advancements are making treatment more accessible. They allow patients to both receive care and heal faster.
To keep you up to date, we’ve composed a rundown of the latest developments in orthopedics. Read on to learn about these medical game-changers.
One of the most well-known developments in orthopedic medicine is 3D-printed implants. What makes them so groundbreaking and superior?
Implants have long been the go-to solution for a myriad of orthopedic issues. They support everything from injury recovery to full joint replacement.
However, every person’s body is different. Factory-made implants can only come in a certain number of shapes and sizes.
A standard implant is better than no implant. But 3D-printed options help patients recover faster.
They are custom-made for each patient. Therefore they are the exact size and shape their body needs.
Even better, 3D printing allows for the implants to be more detailed than ever before. They can be made from sturdy but porous gyroid-sheet lattices that promote osseointegration.
A better-fitting implant leads to faster recovery and healing from the procedure. With 3D-printed orthopedic implants, patients are back to normal faster than ever before.
Biologics take 3D-printed implants to the next level. It involves 3D printing living tissue to create an implant. Then, the implant naturally integrates with the body.
Of course, this isn’t necessary for every type of implant. But some predict that in time, they'll be even cheaper than metal implants.
Robot Technology in Surgery
Orthopedic technology can also help patients mid-surgery. Orthopedic surgery is one of the most precise and fine-tuned medical procedures.
Of course, surgeons are rigorously trained to do their jobs perfectly. But introducing robot technology can improve the process even further.
The latest developments in orthopedic surgery involve robotic surgery. That is, using robots to make the minuscule incisions necessary for many operations. By improving the surgery process, patients recover faster.
Smaller Diagnostic Tools
Orthopedic technology also helps long before implants or robot surgeons are required. One advancement not to be overlooked is the development of smaller diagnostic tools.
Typically, large machinery is needed to identify orthopedic issues. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs all require huge pieces of equipment. So a patient has to visit a hospital or clinic to receive a diagnosis.
But teams around the world are working to shrink these machines. For example, X-ray machines now exist that are no bigger than a suitcase.
With this technology, patients can be checked and diagnosed on-site. That reduces the time that injuries can worsen before treatment.
Magnetic Growing Rods
Growing rods are a common treatment for orthopedic problems, especially in the spine. Rods are implanted to help straighten and correct spinal issues.
Recent technological developments make this treatment even more effective. The rods implanted in patients can be remotely controlled by means of magnets.
Therefore, when the surgery needs to progress every few months, the process isn’t invasive. Instead, from the outside, doctors remotely adjust the rods inside a patient. The results are painless and nearly immediate.
Lightweight Custom Casts
Another area that technology is improving is patient recovery. Particularly, new casts are on the market the help heal broken bones and fractures.
Fiberglass casts were all the rage 10 years ago. They are lighter than plaster and allow for airflow. This makes the healing process easier for the patients.
But technology has continued to advance, leading to the latest development: 3D-printed casts.
These open, web-looking casts work in one of two ways. Some slip on just like a sleeve, then harden in place. Others are made rigid and attach around the appendage like a cage.
These casts come with several benefits.
They make re-X-raying an injury much easier. It also makes caring for the injury easier on the patient, as they can clean the area. And of course, they’re far lighter to wear, which aids in healing.
Engineered Stem Cells
One of the most challenging areas of orthopedics is cartilage damage. Cartilage cannot heal itself well because it doesn’t receive a blood supply that enables it to heal.
Therefore, surgery is usually required to help with cartilage damage. This can be highly invasive, especially if the damage is small. But if left alone, cartilage tears worsen over time.
Stem cell research has opened up a new solution.
Within stem cells are exosomes. These can pass through various membranes and help the body to heal. Therefore, they may be able to heal such intricate issues without invasive surgery.
Engineered stem cell and exosome treatment is still in the early stages. But we’re excited to see how it will revolutionize orthopedic medicine in the future.
Industry Leaders in Orthopaedic Medicine
Each of these steps forward in orthopedic medicine benefits patients worldwide. Working with those developing this technology is the best way to keep it moving forward.
At restor3d, we thrive on collaboration. We know it’s the best way to continue to make advancements.
If you’d like to spearhead technology with an industry leader, get in touch.
Alternatively, if you’re a patient looking for 3D-printed implants, we can help. We work with surgeons across the country to get their patients the most progressive care. Find one of our surgeons online today.