New technology allows for customized hip replacements

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Using the Optimized Positioning System, patients get x-rays showing how the pelvis moves in three positions. (KABC)

A new approach to hip replacement surgery uses a high-tech tool to allow surgeons to customize each operation.

Using the Optimized Position System, or OPS, doctors can create a blueprint of a person's anatomy weeks before surgery.

The hip replacement system was recently approved by the FDA and it helps surgeons find the best alignment for the prosthetics, using x-rays, CT scans and 3-D models.

Barbara Abbott had polio as a child, leaving her with legs of different lengths and hip pain. It even hurt for her to sit while she painted.

"So I'm afraid at the point I might fall because it's like a hot pan," Abbott explained. "You have to drop it. When you step on it at that perfect angle, it's just excruciating."

Before undergoing surgery with the OPS system, doctors get x-rays of patients to show how the pelvis moves in three positions.

"With the use of a CT scan of the pelvis, we can create this patient-specific block that exactly matches the bony morphology of the pelvis," Hoag Orthopedic Institute surgeon Dr. Steven Barnett said.

Those images are then used to make a hip analysis and a 3-D model of Abbott's hip, showing surgeons exactly where to put the socket and a guide block that's aligned with a laser.

"When we actually put the implant in, we just match up our laser points so that we know we've repeated the exact angles that we planned for pre-operatively," Barnett said.

The team also takes x-rays during the procedure to make sure everything lines up.

Barnett said that a patient's pain will immediately be done following the surgery.

"Since I'll be walking right away, I hope to be right out here going as soon as I can and get back on my bike." Abbott said.

Barnett said this procedure can be used for anyone who needs a total hip replacement. More than 3,000 patients have had the procedure in Australia and Europe, where it was approved years ago.
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