Transforming the high value joint replacement industry with additive manufacture

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Surgery and Cancer


We plan to disrupt the existing supply chain model for orthopaedic surgery by utilising our pre-operative planning capability
to drive the ordering process. Additive manufacture already enables us to fabricate customised high-accuracy one-off
surgical instrumentation for complex orthopaedic surgery. By defining up front the specific operative requirements in
routine cases we can reduce costs for both the hospital buying the goods, and the implant company. This happens in two
ways: by avoiding inventory costs and by greatly reducing the instrumentation needed for each procedure. These benefits
are twinned with increased surgical accuracy, providing a higher value service for the patient. This project will develop an
innovative highly automated supply system, triggered by the surgeon's interactive request for an order. We will supply a
sterile customised instrument set manufactured in the UK, along with the correctly sized implant direct to the hospital.

Planned Impact

We plan to disrupt the existing supply chain model for orthopaedic surgery by utilising our pre-operative planning capability
to drive the ordering process. This will impact on hospital efficiencies, on surgical accuracy and on supply chain efficiencies
for implant companies.


10 25 50
Description We have verified the feasibility of automating the process of customised instrumentation. having verified this, we have used it clinically over 200 times. further to this, we have used the competence to automate the process of delivering other procedures. most prominently we used the process to automate the delivery of patient specific instruments for corrective osteotomy. this technique has been in clinical use in a successful clinical trial, in two other hospitals in the UK and one in Holland.
The same platform has been used to develop other applications, in both the knee and the hip that have also reached clinical use
Exploitation Route The findings are being used in our spin-out company, embody-orthopaedics, which is using them to deliver cost effective, less invasive patient matched procedures, avoiding total joint replacement.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Findings have been used commercially and clinically to improve outcomes in orthopaedic surgery. the technology base has been used clinically over 8000 times, and been developed further to provide a suite of solutions for corrective osteotomy, a procedure that may prevent the need for joint replacement surgery - this has been used in the UK and Europe for partial knee replacement - a smaller safer procedure that may avoid the need for total joint replacement for total knee replacement both in the UK and in Australia for hip resurfacing arthroplaty
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Title Clinical Trial underway for device 
Description The product is a customised guidance instrument which is used to accurately position an implant intra-operatively. 
Type Support Tool - For Medical Intervention
Current Stage Of Development Early clinical assessment
Year Development Stage Completed 2015
Development Status On hold
Clinical Trial? Yes
Impact N/a 
Title Customised surgical instrumentation 
Description 3D printed customised instrumentation for orthopaedic surgical procedures. Surgery is pre-operatively planned utilising CT data and a guide 3D printed ad sterilised for informative use within the surgery. 
Type Support Tool - For Medical Intervention
Current Stage Of Development Refinement. Clinical
Year Development Stage Completed 2014
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact n/a 
Title Automated CAD design 
Description This is a technique for automatically designing customised surgical instrumentation based on CT-data and surgical plan information. This fully automated process can increase throughput and reduce error in the process of patient centred surgery where each surgery is tailored for the specific patient on a case by case basis. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact Huge reduction in time and increase in throughput. 
Company Name Embody Orthopaedic Limited 
Description The company provides patient specific orthopaedic solutions. This primaily involves CT-based surgical planning and customised 3D printed instrumentation. 
Year Established 2012 
Impact n/a