On the 29th April, we reported the remarkable story of a US citizen caught up in a terrorist attack- his astonishing recovery is captured here, just 6 weeks following his operation using SYMBIOS custom implants.

Exeter hip specialists provide remote assist emergency hip replacement done under Lockdown conditions

On April 8th, Exeter hip consultants Symbios Orthopaedics performed what we believe to be the UK’s first remotely assisted emergency hip replacement. Justin Quick, MD of Symbios Orthopaedics, received a call from a London hospital who had been asked to treat a patient who had suffered a number of high velocity gunshot wounds whilst on active duty, causing multiple injuries and leaving one of his hips shattered.

They needed a custom hip as soon as possible for the emergency hip replacement, along with the services of Symbios Orthopaedics to assist. In the lockdown environment, it was not possible for Justin to get into London from his Cornwall home so the decision was made to use Zoom conference technology to carry the 3D plans and guides into the operating theatre, along with Justin providing audio assistance.

BBC SPOTLIGHT interview Managing Director Justin Quick

Symbios Orthopaedics usually provide custom hips and knees, created specifically for a patient using 3D planning based on highly detailed scans of the patient’s anatomy. These implants are provided to the surgical team with precision guides to ensure that the implant is placed in exactly the right place. Justin or one of his team would normally be present to assist during these procedures.

‘A lot of care goes into the design of these hips and we are always present during the operation to assist the surgeon with the placement of the guides. Our priority is achieving the optimal outcomes for the patient.’ Explained Justin Quick. ‘We work with NHS hospitals and private hospitals, providing custom implants for hip and knee replacements, usually for patients where a standard implant just won’t work or isn’t the best option for the patient. In this case, the patient is only 38 and very active so a custom hip will give him a better chance of full mobility afterwards. We were able to use the information we had on this patient to provide an implant very quickly and that was rushed to London in time for the procedure.’

The surgery was carried out by leading London orthopaedic surgeon Mr Paul Culpan with Justin assisting over Zoom. The patient is making a full recovery and is already walking with a stick.

‘Using Zoom provided a practical solution and saved a lot of time and fuel. Possibly one of the benefits of the pandemic will be a shift towards more efficient ways of working, including us assisting surgeons using remote technology. Commented Justin Quick. ‘We’re delighted that we were able to help this young man and our clients in the orthopaedic practice.’

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