The results of 3D printing may not be life changing for everyone, but for 16-year-old Fanny Fellesen, a Swedish teenager, 3D printing is just that.
Due to a rare degenerative condition that causes skeletal deformities, the teenager’s freedom of mobility was limited and she was facing the prospect of life confined to her wheelchair, and relied heavily upon her family, wheelchair, and crutches to get around.
Traditional treatments for Fellesen’s degraded hip were not adequate, but in 2012, her doctors, unable to find any other solution, recommended that she be measured for a customized 3D printed hip replacement implants.
3D printing allows for customizable, tailor-made implants. The implant’s shape and the screw placement used to hold the hip in place are also unique and custom, created based on the patient’s individual bone structure.
Thanks to 3D printing, and the ability to create a customized fit, Fellesen is now on the road to recovery. She uses her wheelchair and crutches less and is able to go out with her friends more, as well as walk longer distances.
Fellesen’s prognosis is positive, even though the rare condition includes the possibility of spinal problems later on. But Fellesen remains optimistic and hopeful for a life without a wheelchair or crutches. “I’m positive about a future where I can get rid of the crutches,” she says. “And walk without aid.”
The current use of 3D printed implants is currently limited to specialized cases, but experts believe that 3D printed implants can add value to less complicated implant surgeries, as well as complex ones.