For former high-school and college track star Louise Atadja, playing through the pain wasn't simply a motivational saying. It was her reality.
Her knees were a constant source of torment, often to the point of being unable to walk after her track meets. Surprisingly, the pain was actually due to issues with her hips — a complex combination of hip dysplasia and femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). She would find this out shortly after graduating college, with her track career now behind her.
Given Louise's combination of conditions, orthopedic surgeon and pediatric hip specialist Dr. Travis Matheney decided to utilize brand new 3-D printing technology. Through coordination with SIMPeds — Boston Children's pediatric simulation program — they created a 3-D printed model of Louise's hip and femur. Matheney utilized this model in his pre-operative planning, identifying the lack of rotation in the femur and even discovering an anatomical anomaly that would have remained unseen in standard imaging.
Before her surgery, Louise was handed her own 3-D printed hip and femur, as Matheney explained his surgical plan. "It was just an amazing experience," she says. "I held my hip in my hands as Dr. Matheney pointed out what he was going to fix."
After her successful surgery, Louise is entirely focused on recovery (and Netflix). "Everything went according to plan, which is a new thing for my body," she laughs. Although she'll eventually need a second surgery to correct the other hip — where she has the same condition — Louise is staying in the present. "I'm just thinking about things I can control. In my mind, it's all part of the process."