KOCHI: A 60-year-old housewife from Kottayam became the first patient in the state to undergo a hip replacement using a 3D model of the hip. The patient, Pennamma Mani, had been suffering from severe pain in the hip and could hardly walk after she met with an accident in 2014.
The pioneering surgery was performed at VPS Lakeshore Hospital by a medical team under Dr Bipin Theruvil, senior consultant specialised in hip replacements. A special software was used to process the CT scans of the patient’s fractured hip and printed the same by using a 3D printer. The model itself was an exact copy in size and detail of the woman’s hip. It took 18 hours to print. The medical team performed a mock surgery on the 3D model in order to determine the position and exact size of the implants required thereby making the complex procedure possible to a high level of accuracy.
The final surgery lasted for less than four hours and the patient was able to walk on the same day itself. Dr Bipin Theruvil, said this technology will revolutionise complex joint replacements. “The 3D printed hips offer surgeons an opportunity to plan and practice the surgery in complex cases and thereby saving operating time, reducing blood loss and in the end speeding up recovery,” he said, adding the 3D printing technology has become relatively cheap.
Dr Jacob Varghese, HOD, orthopaedics at VPS Lakeshore Hospital said 3D printing is a game changer and will become a routine practice for complex reconstructions as surgeons will be able to understand the anatomy better resulting in a better outcome for the patient. Dr Mahesh K, who did software optimisation and 3D printing, and Dr John Ferns were also part of the medical team.