Making surgery better

Caroline Wither is a mechanical engineer who invents instruments for surgeons.

Bone surgery

Caroline designs and develops new surgical instruments for orthopaedic surgeons – surgeons who carry out joint replacements and repair fractured or broken bones.

The smallest difference

Surgeons are performing intricate surgery for hours at a time, so designing even small modifications can help. Caroline can tailor tools to their individual needs.

In the hospital

Caroline needs to know exactly what surgeons need, so she visits them in hospital and in the operating theatre.


She will design models on computers and print 3D models before testing them with the surgeons. Caroline needs to make sure the instruments don’t break and are easy to clean.

Ostriches in engineering…

Human bones that are damaged or have diseases like osteoporosis are fragile. Bird bones are very light and that makes ostrich bones great to test the tools on.

Grey’s Anatomy

At school, Caroline wanted to be a doctor because she loved Grey’s Anatomy. Watching the Paralympics showed her the prosthetics and devices that were in use helping people. She realised she could still work in medicine through engineering.