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Hong Kong Scientists Use 3D Printing to Help Kids with Bowed Legs

Paige Anne Carter



A bowed leg is a condition caused by developmental issues or improperly healed fractures. Treatment of bowed legs usually involves surgery and long hospital stays. However, medical researchers from The Chinese University of Hong Kong led by Dr. Liu King-lok developed a way to treat children with bowed legs using 3D printing.

Conventional treatment of bowed legs encourages patients to wear a metal body frame for a year. The problem with traditional treatment is it involves a lot of hospital visit to refit the frame. Moreover, patients will have to deal with excruciating pain where the frames are pinned to the bone. Constant refitting may put the patients at risk to infection.

With 3D printing, doctors were able to make 3D printed copies of the legs of their patients. This helped doctors assess the condition of the patient in detail. With 3D printing, doctors are able to perform surgery after designing specific instruments that are made to fit into the deformed bones and bolted internally using screws to correct the bowed legs. This means that the patient does not need to wear complicated metal body frames.

Currently, there were four patients who have been treated using the 3D printing procedure and the doctors have enormous success in the improvement of the patients. In fact, the patients were out of the hospital immediately after the surgery and they were also able to walk and adjust after the surgery. Hopefully, this treatment procedure will become mainstream in many medical centers in the world to treat people with bowed legs.


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