February 2018

FollowKnee to develop 3D-printed artificial knee joints

Brest, France-based FollowKnee has been awarded a €7.9 million grant by the French national research agency to use 3D scanning and printing techniques to create a better artificial knee joint design and develop a new approach to production. The 3D printing will be conducted by Rennes, France-based SLS, known for producing ceramic dental fittings. The 3D-printed artificial knee joint will be constructed of a ceramic-metal alloy. The multidisciplinary project will also implement other cutting-edge technologies to address issues affecting replacement surgery, prosthetic devices, and the patient recovery process.

During the first 3 years of the program, 220 3D-printed prosthetic knee joints will be implanted by FollowKnee’s team of surgeons. The surgeons will also implant approximately 30 sensors designed to track the condition of the prosthetic joint and detect any problems. Produced by CEA (French Atomic Energy Commission) Grenoble, these sensors will be used primarily in younger patients, allowing their performance to be tracked over a long period. Surgeons will use augmented reality to help plan the procedures and to implant the 3D-printed knee joints.

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- Emily Delzell

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