A GROUNDBREAKING operation using a 3D printed hip has been carried out in Southampton.
It is the first time that doctors and scientists in the city have done hip surgery using a 3D printed implant and bone stem cell graft.
It is hoped that the new titanium hip, which was designed using the patient's CT scan and state-of-the-art technology, will last longer because it has been made to fit the patient's exact measurements.
Meryl Richards, from Hampshire, who has had hip troubles since she was involved in a traffic accident in the 1970's, was the patient to receive this revolutionary hip.
She said: “The way medicine has evolved is fantastic. I hope that this will be the last time that I have to have a hip operation. I feel excited to have this pioneering surgery and I can see what a benefit it will have to me.”
The implant will provide a new socket for the ball of the femur bone to enter and behind the implant and between the pelvis, doctors have inserted a graft containing bone stem cells.
The graft acts as a filler for the loss of bone.
The patient's own bone marrow cells have been added to the graft to provide a source of bone stem cells to encourage bone regeneration behind and around the implant.
Southampton doctors believe this is a game changer.
Douglas Dunlop, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, conducted the operation at Southampton General Hospital.
He said: “The benefits to the patient through this pioneering procedure are numerous. The titanium used to make the hip is more durable and has been printed to match the patient's exact measurements - this should improve fit and could reduce the risk of having to have another surgery.
“The bone graft material that has been used has excellent biocompatibility and strength and will fill the defect behind the bone well, fusing it all together.”
Over the past decade Mr Dunlop and Professor Richard Oreffo, at the University of Southampton, have developed a translational research programme to drive bone formation using patient skeletal stem cells in orthopaedics.
The graft used in this operation is made up of a bone scaffold that allows blood to flow through it.
Stem cells from the bone marrow will attach to the material and grow new bone. This will support the 3D printed hip implant.
Professor Oreffo added: “Growing bone at the point of injury alongside a hip implant that has been designed to the exact fit of the patient is exciting and offers real opportunities for improved recovery and quality of life.”