3dp_knee_conformisMedical technology company ConforMIS, Inc. (NASDAQ: CFMS) has developed a knee replacement system that promises to drastically reduce both the length of the average knee replacement surgery as well as the patient recovery time. Their iFit Image-to-Implant technology platform allows surgeons to 3D print joint replacement implants individually sized and shaped to suit the needs of each patient’s body. By using data from a preoperative CT scan, ConforMIS will 3D print patient specific knee replacement implants and custom surgical cutting blocks.

iFit knee replacement.

iFit knee replacement.

ConforMIS has been quietly developing their iFit system for the last few years as a private company, but they finally went public by offering 9,000,000 shares of stock in the company at $15.00 per share. After only a single day on the NASDAQ, the ConforMIS IPO raised over $135 million and is currently trading 28% above the original IPO price. Currently J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities will act as joint book-running managers for ConforMIS stock, while Wells Fargo Securities, Canaccord Genuity and Oppenheimer & Co. will be acting as the offering co-managers.

A Patient-specific cutting block.

A Patient-specific cutting block.

With this new financial windfall, ConforMIS will find themselves able to continue to develop their cutting edge technology and potentially lead the way for a massive transformation of the joint replacement industry. Knee replacement surgery is already one of the most common hospital procedures performed in the United States, with over 600,000 surgeries performed each year. Due to the population staying in the workforce longer and the rise in obesity related illnesses, that number is expected to rise to almost three million by 2030. That is a lot of people having their knees replaced, and when it can sometimes take up to six weeks for the patient to become mobile again, that is a very large percentage of our workforce off of their feet in one year.

The iTotal kits pre-sterilized and disposable custom instruments.

The iTotal kits pre-sterilized and disposable custom instruments.

The primary cause of replacement surgeries requiring a lengthy recovery time, is the need for the surgical staff to customize the replacement joint during the operation in order to ensure a snug fit. Because no knee is ever going to be the same, and the joint replacements are mass produced, making them fit can often involve removing a significant amount of the bone, again increasing the recovery time. But the iFit system, developed by ConforMIS, supplants the standard joint replacement parts and procedures with a kit consisting of implants and tools that are customized for each individual patient.

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The selective laser sintered implants during post processing.

Their proprietary software generates a customized 3D model of the replacement joint, using standard CT scan data. It will also generate 3D printable cutting blocks that are sized specifically for the patient’s bone, allowing the surgical team to cut away only the damaged or diseased areas. ConforMIS’ iTotal joint replacement kit includes all surgical instruments, customized cutting blocks and knee implants, most of them being 3D printed using a selective laser sintering process.  Ultimately the iFit knee replacements are capable of reducing the amount of bone removed by up to 25% and potentially cutting recovery time in half.

Once the 3D printed joint replacement is fit into place, it will no longer require any adjustments or alterations to either the bone itself or the implant. Not only does the procedure reduce the time required to perform the surgery, but since all of the tools are 3D printed and patient specific, they can simply be disposed with a new kit of custom tools and implants opened for the next patient. This reduces the time required to perform the procedure, eliminates almost an hour of prep and clean up time for the OR staff and reduces costs for the patient and hospital.

Here is a video detailing the replacement knee procedure:

With ConforMIS’ successful debut on the NASDAQ, yet another 3D printing technology related company is added to the list of companies that have hit it big on the stock market. The 3D printed medical and dental implant market is expected to expand to six billion dollars within the next ten years, so it is easy to see why investors were so quick to invest in ConforMIS’ newly offered stock options. Let us know what you think about medical 3D printing companies hitting it big by going public on our ‘ConformMIS Goes Public‘ forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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