3D Print Knee Implants Being Made for Thousands of Dogs

3D systems, a 3D printing company that is responsible for printing things like prosthetic legs, has now partnered with Rita Leibinger Medical to create and print metal knee implants for canines. The metal orthopedic knee implants will be used to fix a very common injury in dogs’ hind legs.

Dogs tear their hind leg ligaments very often. It can happen due to trauma, genetics, or degeneration. With this metal implant, veterinarians are seeing more successful surgeries and much faster recovery times. It also makes the process much more efficient and saves quite a bit of time.

RELATED: How to Teach a Dog to Walk on a Leash

Back in 2012, 3D Systems paired with Rita Leibinger Medical, because researchers there realized the need for improvement to the standard Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) implants.

3D Print Knee Implants Being Made for Thousands of Dogs
Photo: 3D Systems

The two companies worked together to create the TTA Rapid Implants 2. The new device works to reorganize the bone force and makes the knee more stable. Simply put, it fixes the problem without the veterinarian even having to repair the torn ligament.

The new implant is made of titanium and has an open structure which allows for faster bone ingrowth. It also promotes less of a risk of infection. Veterinarians that have used the new implants have been very pleased with the ease and speed of recovery.

RELATED: Pet Stairs: How to Help a Dog with Arthritis at Home

It is very difficult to keep a dog still for a matter of days let alone months, but that was what the recovery process for the previous implants required. Orthopedic surgery used to require months of down time and leash walks, but with this new treatment option dogs can be back on their feet in a matter of weeks.

Not only is the new procedure less invasive, but it is also less expensive. The TTA Rapid Implants 2 will become more widely available in the near future, and the companies are also working together to scale the implant down to be used on small dogs and possibly even cats.

In fact, things have been going so well with the TTA Rapid Implants 2 that the companies are looking into developing more implants. They are currently working on several different spinal implants. To date, the knee implants have helped over 10,000 dogs get back on their feet.

3D printing is changing the face of medical treatments for both humans and canines. It allows manufacturers to create a wide range of implant sizes economically and quickly. 3D printing has opened the door to many technological advancements in the field of prosthetics and medical implants. In fact, the possibilities for what it can do in the field of canine medicine are endless.