Surgeon trail blazes cutting-edge 3D printing technology for complex hip replacement

Posted: April 25, 2017

State-of-the-art procedure helps patient to walk pain free

Leading doctors at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon have used the latest 3D printing technology to help a patient with a rare hip deformity walk without pain.
The procedure, which took place earlier in the year, saw the orthopaedic team at the Swindon hospital fit a bespoke hip joint for the patient who had suffered with mobility issues for many years.
It is the first time that such technology has been used in Wiltshire and makes the Great Western Hospital one of only a few NHS providers in the country to have treated patients in this pioneering fashion.
Three dimensional printing uses a digital image - in this case, a scan of the patient's pelvic area - to produce an artificial object that is an exact working replica of what appears on screen. 

"Extremely pleased" 

Dr Adam Brooks, Trauma and Orthopaedic Consultant, led the team in the operating theatre.
He said: "Hip replacements are one of the most common surgical procedures in the NHS and are usually a fairly straightforward affair.
"Most people can be fitted with a regular off-the-shelf joint, but it's not as easy when the patient's entire hip socket is in completely the wrong place.
"I knew that if we were going to help this person, we would need to use a joint that had been specifically tailored for their individual needs and 3D printing gave us a way to do just that.
"It's fantastic to have been able to use this state-of-the-art technology in Swindon and I'm extremely pleased that it's been able to have such a positive impact on this person's everyday life."
The team in Swindon worked closely with a 3D printing firm in Belgium to create the made-to-measure hip joint, with the manufacturers using a detailed X-ray image of the patient's hip as a template.

Once the new joint had arrived from the continent, Dr Brooks' team completely removed the patient's damaged hip joint and replaced it with the 3D model using surgical screws and specialist bone cement.
Although more expensive than regular hip replacements, medics argue that 3D printing can be extremely beneficial to improving the quality of life for patients with extreme hip injuries and deformities.
Doctors at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust first used 3D printing as part of a hip replacement operation in 2014. 

500 Lives 

Using the latest medical technology is just one way that Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is making progress on achieving its safety and quality goal of saving an extra 500 patient lives between 2015 and 2020.
Other lifesaving initiatives being implemented to support 500 Lives include raising staff awareness of the signs and symptoms of sudden and serious conditions, such as acute kidney injury and sepsis, and taking preventative steps to stop patients from developing painful pressure ulcers, which can lead to serious infections, while in hospital. 
For more information on 500 Lives, visit

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