One of the most common surgical procedures today is a hip replacement. This operation replaces a damaged hip joint with an artificial one, called an implant.
Hip replacements have taken place since the 1890s, but widespread use of a successful design only started in the early 1960s. One of the most successful and widely used implants was conceived in Exeter. First implanted in 1970 it is still used in around 40% of UK operations today.
The visionary Exeter hip was the brainchild of orthopaedic surgeon Professor Robin Ling and engineer Professor Clive Lee, who met while working at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital and University of Exeter respectively. Taking a revolutionary collaborative approach Ling and Lee used their combined expertise to design an implant which both lasted longer than earlier implants and was less likely to need additional surgical intervention in the future. This enabled many patients to remain mobile and pain free for much longer than had previously been possible.
Over the past 50 years the work of Ling, Lee and their team has enhanced the lives of over 2 million people worldwide. The Exeter hip stem continues to be considered the ‘gold standard’ in replacement hip stems.
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