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3D knee replacements provide customized fit, less pain

Mary Morse was the second person to have the 3D printing knee replacement surgery at East Liverpool City Hospital

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) - Knee replacements are a popular surgery and now a medical advancement is revolutionizing and modernizing the procedure.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Marcy Dickey said there are new options available for knee replacement. The parts are made from cobalt chromium with a 3D printer in Massachusetts.

"When I heard about the 3D printing and I heard about the perfect fit for your tibia, or your lower bone, and your femur, the upper bone, I was thrilled," Dickey said.

The mold comes from a CT scan of the hip, knee and ankle to get better alignment.

Mary Morse had gone through almost two years of pain and struggled with stability. She tried exercise, injections, even arthroscopy, before deciding on a 3D knee replacement.

"How it's 3D printed and would fit me exactly -- nobody else -- I was like, 'Wow, this is the way to go,'" Morse said.

She had run into Dickey at a 5K. Dickey could sense her frustration that nothing had worked.

They decided a ConforMIS knee implant was the only option to alleviate Morse's pain and get her knee control back so she could work and play.

"I could tell with Mary that she wanted to do more. She definitely wanted to do more and the knee was holding her back," Dickey said.

Morse has hiked, biked, ridden horseback and walked a 10K and three 5Ks since having her surgery in June. She's even walking in the Columbiana 5K Wednesday night.

She lost 30 pounds before the surgery and another 30 since the surgery to take pressure off her knee.

The advantage of a customized knee is the fit, as opposed to one chosen "off the shelf."

"There's less pain, there's less tissue loss, there's less bleeding," Morse said. "It enables the healing to progress a lot faster."

"I think that it has changed the recovery and changed the ability of the surgeon to provide you with the best total knee you can have," Dickey said.

It's also more cost-effective since hospitals don't have to stock different sizes of knee prostheses.

Morse was the second person to have the customized knee replacement surgery at East Liverpool City Hospital. Interestingly, she's the physical therapist for the person who had it done first.

Dickey has now performed ten customized knee replacements.

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