A 38-year-old woman from the north of Israel with a severe limp experienced a dramatic improvement in the quality of her life following a successful surgery at Rambam Health Care Campus. A three-dimensional (3-D) printer in Rambam’s Center for Medical Innovation enabled creation of a precise printed model of the woman’s limb to help her orthopedic doctors and surgeons prepare for the complex surgery.
Dr. Marc Eidelman, a senior orthopedic physician at Rambam explained: "Several months ago, I examined a 14-year-old girl with serious hip joint issues, and I noticed that her mother was having difficulty walking—her heel was completely twisted. I examined the mother and it became clear that she suffered from clubfoot, or in clinical terms, talipes—a distortion of the heel that had developed well before the woman was born.
“Today, every major hospital sees dozens of cases like this every year, and our orthopedists are skilled in implementing treatment of such conditions almost immediately following birth. Through the use of a special cast, the abnormality is generally completely cured within a few years after the child is born. However, this woman was born in the former Soviet Union where, at the time, they did not treat such conditions. She eventually immigrated to Israel and suffered her entire life from a severe limp. The mother agreed to undergo surgery only after her daughter's health issues were addressed, and that's how events transpired," Dr. Eidelman concluded.
As part of the preparation for the surgery, Dr. Eidelman consulted with experts at Rambam's Center for Medical Innovation, a facility created to help physicians and surgeons develop individualized devices and procedures for patients with unmet medical needs. Increasingly, surgeons are using the Institute resources to create 3-D models of the organs and limbs on which they are operating, enabling them to methodically prepare and practice for complicated surgeries. Doreen Barbi, Director of the Center for Medical Innovation at Rambam stated: "Working on 3-D models provides a great advantage to surgeons before they undertake an operation and the first incision."
Dr. Eidelman provided the Institute with detailed images and precise measurements of the woman’s deformed bones. Through the use of sophisticated 3-D copying devices and other state-of-the art equipment, the Institute provided Dr. Eidelman with a highly accurate model of her leg and bones which allowed him to practice on the exact placement of the surgical incision for optimal placement of screws and bone sections necessary to repair the abnormality.
The surgery was subsequently performed by Dr. Eidelman and his staff together with Dr. Amos Schindler, a leading orthopedic surgeon from Sheba Medical Center. Two days after the successful surgery, the 38-year-old mother was able to get up from her bed. Although still in a cast, the woman’s foot is now normally aligned and she is looking forward to a new walk in life when the cast is removed.
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