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Advanced technology could give us ‘personalised’ hip replacements, finds study involving UHCW

Tailor-made ‘personalised’ hip replacements could improve patient outcomes and surgery success rates, research involving University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust has found. 

The pioneering approach using advanced technology was analysed in a study carried out by WMG at The University of Warwick, in collaboration UHCW and Corin Group.

Replacements are based on a ‘normal’ hip rather than being designed for the patient, but each person moves their hips in slightly different ways.

Professor Richard King, UHCW Clinical Orthopaedic Surgeon and the clinical lead of the project, said: “The hip replacement has been called ‘the operation of the century’.

“As surgeons, we are constantly looking to make it better and more reliable. This work we have done with WMG could help us to do exactly this, by showing us how to tailor the operation precisely for each individual patient.”

Lead Researcher Dr Arnab Palit, Assistant Professor at WMG at The University of Warwick, and his team combined real-life and computer models to compare simulated and real hip motions.

This demonstrated that certain hip motions can be easily and accurately calculated using state-of-the-art computer simulations based on CT scans of the patient’s hip joint, closely mirroring real hip motions.

This advancement could enable surgeons to plan hip surgeries based on patient-specific target hip motions, rather than relying on population norms or arbitrary 'normal' values.

This is particularly valuable for patients who do not fall within these average values, ensuring that pre-surgical planning is truly individualised and likely to be more effective.

Using tailor-made hip replacements could improve the success of operations, making them ‘right first time’. Surgeons may be able to put the artificial hip in just the right spot based on the pre-operatively calculated personified target hip motion.

This could reduce the chances of any clinical problems later on, minimising the risk of revision surgery.

Dr Palit said: “This research shows a big step forward. By using computer simulations, we can predict certain hip movements accurately. During surgery, these predicted movements can guide surgeons to place implants in the best positions for each patient.

“So, instead of using average measurements, we're customising the surgery to fit each person perfectly. Further research will be necessary to fully explore its potential to utilise it for NHS patients.”

More than 100,000 people in the UK undergo hip replacements each year – commonly due to arthritis, a disease of the joints which causes significant pain.

Dr Christopher Plaskos, VP, Global Clinical Innovation at Corin Group added: “Corin is proud to support this research, which will shape the future of hip planning, leading to truly personalised hip replacement.”

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