3D printer ends patient’s three decades of pain


For more than three decades, James Southwell lived in pain.

His discomfort was caused by an unstable hip and several unsuccessful attempts to fuse and heal the bone.

But a breakthrough procedure at Southern Highlands Private Hospital has changed Mr Southwell’s life.

The Southern Highlands local recently underwent a procedure to have a custom designed titanium plate inserted into his hip to stabilise the joint.

The plate was constructed from a 3D image and was printed as an exact fit for Mr Southwell.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Nick Hartnell, a veteran with more than 18 years of experience, worked with Bespoke Medical Innovations to design the plate for Mr Southwell.

“Through the advancement of such technology we were able to model and create the perfect anatomical fit to the patient's remaining bone stock, target quality fixation points, choose the design and size of screws,” Dr Hartnell said.

“[This] provided us with confidence that stability could be achieved.”

Dr Hartnell said 3D printing had revolutionised the way surgeons were thinking about procedures.

“It gives us the ability to provide customised solutions where once we have never had options before,” he said.

“After the operation, Mr Southwell told me he is the best he has been in 37 years.”

Southern Highlands Private Hospital is owned and operated by Ramsay Health Care.


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