Thanks to 3D printing, a 71 year old woman is saved from a permanent life in a wheelchair. A customized 3D-printed hip implant. Meryl Richards, had hip problems since being involved in a car accident in the 1970s, had six previous hip surgeries since then, which made her pelvic bone very weak.Her leg was two inches shorter than the other one, and it seemed that a wheelchair was her only option.
But now, she has a ray of hope for a new beginning. She underwent a hip replacement operation at Southampton Hospital using a customized 3D-printed hip implant, one of the first operations of its kind in Britain. The surgeons took precise measurements taken from detailed body scans and printed the hip layer-by-layer. A Belgian-based company Mobelife designed the customized hip according to the CT body scans and delivered the implant, which was a perfect fit for the patient.
The British surgeons are using the patient’s own stem cells to hold the hip joint in place. These cells were taken before the operation, cultured separately in a laboratory to create a larger batch. The cells thus developed will be made to act as a glue to create better bonding between the implant and the damaged site and to achieve tighter fit, thus enhancing the success rate of the surgery.
If everything goes as per plan, Ms. Richards will soon have legs of the same length, and will walking pain-free and without a limp.