An Oak Ridge resident recently received a customized total knee implant, developed using a 3D printing technology. This medical advancement is changing the way doctors perform knee replacement surgeries. 

After 10 years of pain from a torn meniscus, Beverly Burgan is finally able to get back to her active lifestyle, thanks to a unique solution. 

“I can do everything I did before. By October I was up to about 18 miles on the bike outside. And walking, five to seven miles, plus now I’m back in the pool swimming,” said Burgan. 

Dr. Michael MacKay with Orthopedic Surgeons of Oak Ridge offered Burgan a chance to feel better, by using advanced imaging technology from Conformis. A scan of her knee was put through software and the data transformed into a custom made 3D model implant. 

“It exactly imitates the shape and size of every person’s knee. And everybody’s knee is just a little bit different. This allows it to feel just that more normal,” said Dr. MacKay. 

More than 600,000 people have knee replacement surgeries each year. Dr. MacKay is among the first surgeons in the state to use this innovative technology.

“We can get that alignment and get that patient feeling back to the way they felt when they were young again,” said Dr. MacKay. 

The benefits have been life changing for Burgan.

“I have a very stable, solid knee. It doesn’t give out on me. I can walk, I get up comfortably. It used to be hard for me to get up because my knee would slip. I just feel very secure,” said Burgan. 

Burgan is happy doing what she love again, living life to the fullest. Her 3D knee implant is expected to last her 20 to 30 years.

With 3D printing technologies becoming more affordable, doctors hope customized 3D printed implants will gradually become more accessible.