Anna Fischer June 27, 2016

German patient Inge W. had been afflicted with a hip malformation since her birth. Due to an extensive number of intense surgeries and revisions throughout her life, there was very little bone left in her pelvic region, leaving a large hole in the bone and making it very difficult to attach a standard hip implant. As her condition grew worse, it seemed that Inge had no other choice but to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Fortunately, she was able to walk again with the help of a patient-specific 3D-printed hip implant.

She approached the Helios ENDO-Klinik in Hamburg, Germany, Europe’s leading hospital in hip and knee surgery, to see if they could offer an alternative. After visiting with Dr. Thorsten Gehrke, the Medical Director of the clinic, it was clear that there was only one solution: a patient-specific hip implant, made-to-measure so it could fit the remaining bone perfectly.


patient specific 3D-printed hip implant
3D model of Inges pelvis


Dr. Gehrke turned to the 3D Printing expertise of Materialise for help with the case. First of all, a 3D model of Inge’s pelvis was digitally reconstructed, and then printed out. It helped to make the surgical procedure clear to Inge, and calm her fears – fears which were understandable, given that this was the tenth operation she would undergo on her hip!

The 3D-printed model of her hip also played an even more important role in helping the surgeons at Helios ENDO-Klinik to plan the surgery and visualize the steps they needed to take to introduce the implant as accurately as possible. And finally, the implant itself was also constructed with 3D Printing using the Materialise aMace Integrated System; 3D-printed in titanium, the implant is completely adapted to the patient’s anatomy, ensuring a perfect fit and a much smaller risk of dislocation and impingement.


3D-printed hip implant
3D-printed hip implant and guide


During the operation, the surgeons were also able to place the aMace acetabular revision system and insert the screws as accurately as possible due to the implant trial and bone model we provided along with the 3D-printed hip implant. Furthermore, the 3D-printed drill guides enabled them to drill exactly where the screws needed to fix the implant in place. Therefore, it assured optimal mechanical stability and prevented the accelerated wear and early failure of the implant.

Five months after Inge’s pelvic reconstruction, she is making a great recovery and can now walk completely unaided. We hope she continues to enjoy the use of her hip for many years! Sign-up to receive the latest insights and developments in Medical 3D Printing!