We are currently running a study with the orthopaedic team at Alder Hey concerning hip dysplasia. Dan Perry, NIHR Clinician Scientist, Senior Lecturer University of Liverpool and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon set the following question “Can 3D printing replace an arthrogram for hip imaging?” Hip deformity is one of the most common outcomes following many paediatric hip diseases. Reconstructive surgery is frequently employed to improve the congruency of the hip, to prolong or obviate the time-to-arthroplasty.



Surgical decisions regarding reconstructive surgery can be challenging. A variety of imaging modalities can be helpful in guiding surgical planning. However, most of these modalities are static images, therefore they are not readily representative of the movements within a hip. An arthrogram is the most dynamic investigation offering a ‘tactile’ insight into the anatomical variants, however only offers two-dimensional

The widespread use of three-dimensional printing offers an opportunity to produce bespoke dynamic models of diseased hips, which would enable the surgeon to gain a greater insight into the surgery required. Such models may also be useful in the process of patient consent, and would enable surgeons to perform ‘surgery’ on the printed model preoperatively as a ‘trial-run’ or when training trainee surgeons. By testing different materials, such models may also enable surgeons to test optimal osteotomy positions (cuts in the bone), and enable them to reliably template (size) the materials required for the procedure.

The first stage of the study was to determine the face validity of 3D printing of hips amongst surgeons, to determine whether surgeons perceive this may be a useful tool. Explore surgeons’ attitudes to see if this could replace information gained by an arthrogram.