Humanitas claims total knee replacement printed in 3D

At the Humanitas Centre for Knee Joint Reconstruction, the personalized, 3D implantation of a total knee prosthesis has been performed – a world record of its kind

The patient has already been discharged and is performing a normal post-operative recovery.

Both the research project and the operation, which benefitted from artificial intelligence and computerised systems, were performed by Professor Maurilio Marcacci and his team, Dr Francesco Iacono and Dr Tommaso Bonanzinga, specialists in Orthopaedics at Humanitas.

We talked about this innovative knee arthroplasty intervention with the direct architects.


How did this type of operation come about?

The surgeons of the Joint Reconstruction Centre at Humanitas, in collaboration with the innovative Italian start-up Rejoint, developed a new procedure and printed a 3D total knee prosthesis in cobalt chrome alloy, faithfully reconstructed to the specific dimensions of the patient’s limb thanks to the use of CT and MRI data. In addition, a 3D computerized vision and an intelligent system of algorithms provided for interactive preoperative planning, fundamental in facilitating the correct positioning of the prosthesis itself.


What are the advantages of customising knee arthroplasty procedures? 

Dr. Bonanzinga explains that the creation of customised prostheses, which take into account the specific anatomy of each individual patient, reduces the problems that can arise after surgery, such as the rubbing of the tendons and soft tissues, pain or inflammation, and shortens post-operative recovery. In addition, this new technique avoids prosthesis revision over the next few years.


Professor Marcacci, can this operation, performed for the first time in the world, be an incentive to seek increasingly innovative therapeutic solutions?

The latest developments in medicine have seen the personalisation of treatments as an increasingly realistic and concrete option. Orthopaedics is no exception, with studies ranging from the development of prostheses with increasingly innovative materials tailored to the patient, to the use of stem cells that help the regeneration of tissues and cartilage. “This intervention is the conclusion of a research project that opens the door to interesting therapeutic options for the benefit of patients which we hope will stimulate the work of all professionals in the field of science and medicine to find increasingly innovative clinical applications,” explains the Professor.


In terms of technology, what does training at Humanitas University focus on?

Doctors and other professionals are confronted on a daily basis with increasingly sophisticated equipment used for diagnostics and surgery. “With the evolution of medical practice, the training of young doctors, physiotherapists and nurses must also follow the same path. From this point of view, a didactic approach that facilitates the contamination of skills, along with the use of simulation to practise safely, will allow young people to better face their future,” concludes Professor Marcacci.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.