Personalized knee replacement: an interview with Dr Martin

Interview conducted by April Cashin-Garbutt | April 25, 2013

Why has knee replacement surgery traditionally been performed using off-the-shelf implants? Knee replacement surgery has traditionally been performed using off-the-shelf implants because of the limitations of technology. As with most industries, evolution does occur.

Of course, in a perfect world, an implant would always be made precisely to fit a patient. But in the past, technology was not available to make individualized implants.

In the early days of knee replacement, knees came in only a few sizes. As time went on and surgeons began to realize the importance of size, these sizes were expanded to 6 or 7 different sizes. Next, came gender-specific knees, also in different sizes, and also off the shelf.

The downside of this system of using off-the-shelf implants is that it is not an efficient way of delivering implants. More sizes that are required to get closer to fitting more patients also require more inventories of implants and instruments—it gets to be very expensive and complex.

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