Health Check: 3-D knee replacement

The difference between 3D knee replacement and regular replacement (Photo: ConforMIS)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - Joint replacement sure is evolving. What used to require a night in the hospital is now an out-patient procedure.

Getting in and out of her car wasn't easy for Gail Hagerty.

"It was excruciating," Hagerty said.

Hagerty suffers from osteoarthritis and her knees became a big problem.

"At night I would lay down and go to sleep, I would dream there was hammer hitting me on the knee," Hagerty said.

Dr. Gautham Gondi replaced both of Hagerty’s knees. The latest knee, in November, was created by a 3D printer.

"Instead of something that is sitting on the shelf you get an implant that is made specifically for the patient," Gondi said.

A CT scan helps the maker, Conformis, create a customized knee.

“It helps prevent mistakes,” Gondi said. “You don't have to use rods in the femur for alignment purposes. You can take less bone."

Gondi also explained this technology is the reason why he's able to do a joint replacement in an out- patient surgery.

It's also leading to better turnaround time for patients. Hagerty went home the day of her full knee replacement and was in physical therapy the next day.

Six weeks after surgery Hagerty was back to normal activity.

Today, Hagerty is in and out of her car, taking on stairs, and her three grandchildren pain free.

"You've got to be on your toes and making your knee bend, that's for sure."

Hagerty doesn’t have any arthritic pain that she had before surgery.

Dr. Gondi said they're meeting resistance from some insurance companies when it comes to paying for this out-patient procedure.

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