Principal investigator: Ahmad Najafi and Sorin Seigler

University: Drexel University

Industry partner: Kinos Medical Inc.

Over the past decade, improvements in total ankle replacement (TAR) increased its popularity as a surgical treatment for end-stage, painful, ankle arthritis. TAR has a clear advantage over the old, gold standard of ankle fusion, of preserving ankle movement. Preservation of ankle function is particularly important, since ankle arthritis, unlike hip or knee, is predominantly post-traumatic affecting young and old individuals alike. Despite recent improvement, clinically available TARs were found in follow-up clinical studies to have unacceptably high rates of failures. These studies revealed that many of these failures are caused by inadequate fixation of TAR to the talus bone resulting in loosening and subsidence of the talar component. Current TARs require sectioning of this small and highly porous bone in which, once its hard cortical layer is removed, it loses much of its strength. Therefore, it is highly desirable to minimize or eliminate talar bone resection. To address this critical problem, Drexel University and Kinos Medical have teamed up to optimize TAR design by creating a personalizing TAR with a patient-specific bone-implant interface that matches the patient’s underlying bone unique anatomy and requires minimal to no bone resection. We will use advanced optimization tools and combine them with state-of-the-art ankle joint biomechanics, advanced medical imaging, advanced materials, and advanced manufacturing techniques such a PEEK and Metal 3D printing to produce a personalized TAR optimized for improved performance including optimized bone-implant interface, optimized size to strength ratios, optimized osteointegration through optimized porosity design. 3D printing allows for manufacturing unique porous structures on the contacting surfaces that otherwise could not be created by traditional manufacturing methods.

This project will form an academic-Industry partnership based in Pennsylvania that places both Drexel University and Kinos Medical in the leading edge of ankle implant manufacturing by producing the first patient-specific TAR implants