American surgical device company DJO was having challenges prior to the launch of their new implant, the TaperFill™ Hip Stem, a shorter femur stem designed to be inserted through a direct anterior approach hereby sparing the critical posterior soft tissue. The design of the implant proved to be very tricky as it needed to fit closely in the cortical bone to ensure stability. As there was not much room for error, it was difficult to create a design that fit a maximum amount of patients, since every anatomy differs slightly from person to person. DJO optimized the hip with the help of image-based population analysis.
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.
Hip disorders such as cartilage degeneration or bone fractures are common pathologies which are often treated with prosthetic surgery. Andrea Calvo-Echenique from the University of Zaragoza, Spain investigated how to prolong the lifespan of hip prostheses, and assessed the best options by comparing different stems and bearing materials. Her goals were to reduce the wear in bearing surfaces, as well as reducing the loosening of the stem, which tends to be caused by a lack of mechanical load in the bone. She received a Mimics innovation Award for the best poster submission in 2015.
After six hip replacements left her pelvis bone in fragile condition, 71-year old Meryl Richards was in great pain after her left leg pushed through her pelvis bone and caused the leg to be two inches shorter than the other. Soon she would be wheelchair-bound forever, after having walked with crutches and sticks for years. Fortunately, surgeons at the Southampton General Hospital, UK, implanted a 3D-printed hip joint, held it in place with the patient's own stem cells - an unprecedented approach.