Jun 21, 2017 | By Julia

A hospital in Amsterdam is making headlines today for being the first institution in the Netherlands to successfully implant a 3D printed hip bone in a patient. Orthopedic surgeon Melinda Witbreuk oversaw the tricky procedure at the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis (OLVG) hospital, which facilitated the implant of a 3D printed titanium plate onto the hip of a 13-year-old girl. With the goal of correcting a fault on the the patient’s hip officially achieved, the girl is now the first person in the Netherlands to have a 3D printed implant that improves her mobility.

In order to prepare for the groundbreaking procedure, hospital technicians began by scanning the patient’s biological hip. The data was then transferred to a local 3D printer at the Vrije Universiteit (VU University) Medical Center 3D innovation lab, where a 3D printed model of the girl’s hip could be created. Finally, a titanium plate was 3D printed to precisely fit the hip model.

"With the 3D print of the hip head, it was possible to make a plate which fits exactly to this hip before the surgery." Witbreuk explained to local reporters. This enabled the doctors to correct the hip with considerably more accuracy, thereby improving the patient's leg and assisting her walking. The 3D printing procedure is “an improvement compared to the common method," Witbreuk noted.

Up until now, operations on the head of the hip were done “by eye,” so to speak, say hospital representatives. This traditional method involved taking a 2D X-ray of the affected area, which would then show doctors where a correction was needed. The hip would then be corrected with a standard plate.

Over the past several years, however, 3D CT scans have become increasingly common, and with good reason: this technology is significant in helping orthopedists better plan for the surgery. Yet despite the growing prevalence of 3D medical scanning, the use of 3D printed hip models is still in its infancy. The recent OLVG hospital procedure is the first time in Dutch history that an actual 3D printed model of an affected hip was produced in order to create and place an individualized plate.

The OLVG is affiliated with the Children’s Orthopedic Center Amsterdam (KOCA), a partnership of eight institutions including the OLVG, VU Medical Center, and the Academic Medical Center (AMC). An orthopedic surgeon at the OLVG, Dr. Melina Witbreuk specializes in slipped hip heads. She is president of the Children’s Orthopedics Group, and remains actively involved in the European Children’s Orthopedic Association.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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