Now Performing a Total Talus Replacement with a 3D Printed Implant

June 23, 2021

New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center’s foot and ankle surgeon, Bryan A. Bean, MD is now making use of a novel 3D printing technology to custom replicate the talus bone in patients suffering from bone death known as avascular necrosis (AVN). Reconstruction of the ankle with a 3D printed replacement ensures a perfect match of the patient’s anatomy and averts the need for motion-limiting fusion surgery or amputation.

The talus bone is critical to the function of the ankle: it bears the weight of the entire body, and joins the two leg bones, the tibia and fibula, to the foot. Fractures of the talus are a common cause of AVN, which occurs when the bone dies from a lack of blood supply. However, the condition can also occur without any known cause.

The implant fabrication process begins by reversing CT images of the healthy talus bone in the patient’s opposite foot to create three implants of slightly different sizes. In this case, Dr. Bean utilized Restor3D, a company in Durham, North Carolina, to replicate the diseased bone. During surgery, the best fit is determined, and the final cobalt chrome talus is implanted.

“This is an exciting example of how three-dimensional printing technology is being implemented in foot and ankle surgery to create customized solutions for patients. AVN of the talus is a very challenging problem, and previously, did not have a great surgical solution. The talus replacement technology can be life-altering for the patient and bring them back to pain-free function while preserving their ankle motion.”

– Bryan A. Bean, MD