By: 30 December 2016
New senior research fellow aims to optimise reliability and performance of artificial hips

Sophie Williams has been appointed as a Royal Academy of Engineering senior research fellow at the University of Leeds, where she will continue developing the engineering expertise necessary to deliver artificial hips with more reliable outcomes.

Williams’s research will develop novel ways of testing hip replacements in the laboratory by including anatomical elements, to test how bone shape and placement of hip replacements affects performance.

Using a half-pelvis and femur, either created from 3D printing or human tissue that has been donated for scientific research, hip replacements will be implanted and the different loads and motions experienced clinically will be simulated.

As well as wear of the materials, tests will consider real-life scenarios that are seen in patients and inform engineers and surgeons about factors to consider to optimise patient outcomes.

Williams’ fellowship is supported by DePuy Synthes as part of a partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering that aims to develop technology to benefit an ageing population with an increasing demand for implants and hip replacements.

“Whilst today’s implants are highly successful, recent studies in the literature detail that sub-optimal outcomes can occur because of impingement and sometimes even dislocation of the joint,” explained Williams. “The new tools we will develop as part of the fellowship will help assess the effect of anatomical and surgical positioning of the implant on how well the hip replacement will function.”